Q & A with a Portland traffic cop

Sergeant Robert Voepel, with the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau, joined us today to answer some of our pressing questions about driving in Oregon.

What should a person do if he/she is pulled over by a police officer? 

  • Remain in the vehicle, keep your  hands in sight, follow instructions and be polite. 

What are some violations people can get tickets for…but that many people don’t know about? 

  • Improper turns
  • Not treating a yellow light the same as a red light in Oregon
  • Not moving over for emergency vehicles
  • Following too close to other vehicles
  • Improper U-turns

  What is the most common ticket you give out?

  • Speeding and Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device (running yellow and red lights).

What is your best advice for drivers? 

  • Be patient and be polite.

What is your best advice for pedestrians?

  • Pay attention to your surroundings and look for vehicles -- even if you have the right of way.  (You can be right, but you don't want to be dead right.)

Do traffic officers give out jay-walking tickets?  If so, how common are they?

  • Yes.  We give out Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device for Pedestrians citations.  We do not have enough resources to enforce all of the rules all of the the time though. 

If we could pass your dream traffic law, what would it be and how would it help?

  • Driving while Distracted/Encumbered -- drivers of vehicles need to pay attention to avoid collisions with other objects.

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