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Legislature drives home some good points

Excerpted from The (Albany) Democrat-Herald

Maybe you've noticed this as well, but it seems as if every time the Legislature meets, it spends more time than it should pondering the way that the rest of us drive.

This is likely a result of all the time legislators spend on the road between Salem and their homes, and we should emphasize before we continue that we're sympathetic to these road warriors.

The logical result is that every legislative session gets filled with proposals likely meant, in some way, to show these idiot drivers on the road how things should be done. 

This year's session also has included a variety of measures meant to change the way we drive.

But the surprising thing is that some of these measures survived the cut and are headed to Gov. Kate Brown. And the real surprise is this: They're worthy of support.

The Legislature last week backed a bill that would raise the speed limits from 55 to 65 mph outside the city limits in Central and Eastern Oregon. Interstate 84 from The Dalles to Idaho would rise to 70 mph, as would all of U.S. 95 in Oregon's southeast corridor. These changes are overdue. Anyone who's spent any time driving on the eastern reaches of Interstate 84 knows the experience of counting the minutes until you leave Oregon so that you can speed up just a bit. 

The Legislature also backed a bill that allows self-service gasoline late at night in counties with no more than 40,000 residents. The idea is to allow motorists low on fuel in lightly populated areas the chance to get gas without waiting for a station to open.

But legislators wisely shot down a bill that would have designated the left lane on four-lane highways as a passing lane. These slowpokes in the left lane are annoying, to be sure, but it still seems extreme to label their behavior illegal.