Road deaths in Oregon rose 27 percent in 2015. Experts with the National Safety Council blame Oregon’s continued recession (which has resulted in more miles traveled by people).
"The economy did a pretty good job of masking the ongoing safety issues on the road," said Ken Kolosh, who heads the National Safety Council's statistics department. "They're becoming more obvious now with the increase in fatalities."
The 446 deaths reported in Oregon last year is the most since 2007.
It's worth noting that road deaths overall remain near historic lows. Fatalities have fallen from their 1970s peak as car safety and driver habits have improved.
Still, safety advocates worry Oregon is embracing policies that might be stoking the post-recession jump.
For example, the Legislature voted last year to raise the speed limit by 5 mph on hundreds of miles of highway. The speed limit will increase to 70 mph on Interstate 84 from the Idaho border to The Dalles, and to 60 mph on rural highways in eastern Oregon.
A two-lane, undivided stretch of U.S. 95 in the state's southeast corner will also get the 70 mph treatment, to better match speed limits in neighboring states.
The new speed limits take effect March 1.”
Charley Gee is a Portland personal injury attorney. He exclusively represents people against insurance companies and corporations.