Isn't there an Oregon law that says you must use your headlights after dark? I see two or more drivers without headlights every night I drive on McAndrews. The lights aren't just for you to see, but for others to see you. Somebody needs to do something. I already know one person seriously hurt due to not being visible at night.

— Bill R., Medford

There is, indeed, a law, Bill.

ORS 811.515 says headlights "must be displayed when the vehicle is upon a highway within this state at any time limited visibility conditions exist."

"Highway" is an all-inclusive term for public roads, according to Medford police Lt. Kerry Curtis.

Not abiding by the law is a class B traffic violation, which carries a fine of $260.

Medford police are aware of the issue, too, and try to keep an eye out.

"It's a fairly common violation," Curtis says.

Lights not going on when it's dark or stormy — or something else that limits visibility — frequently stems from absentmindedness. The area could be well-lit, for example, or the driver behind the wheel of a vehicle with manual headlights is used to driving with ones that come on automatically.

Other times, absentmindedness can stem from drinking too much.

"It's definitely one of those violations that leads to DUII arrests," Curtis says.

— Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.