Driver and vehicle records as evidence
(1)In all actions, suits or criminal proceedings when the title to, or right of possession of, any vehicle is involved, the record of title, as it appears in the files and records of the Department of Transportation, is prima facie evidence of ownership or right to possession of the vehicle. As used in this section, the record of title does not include records of salvage titles unless the record itself is the salvage title. Proof of the ownership or right to possession of a vehicle shall be made by means of any of the following methods:
(a)The original certificate of title as provided under ORS 803.010 (Proof of ownership).
(b)A copy, certified by the department, of the title record of the vehicle as the record appears in the files and records of the department.
(2)Extrinsic evidence of authenticity is not required as a condition precedent to the admission of a copy of a document relating to the privilege of any person to drive a motor vehicle authorized by law to be filed and actually filed in the records of the department if the copy bears a seal purporting to be that of the department and is certified as a true copy by original or facsimile signature of a person purporting to be an officer or employee of the department. This subsection applies to copies of a data compilation in any form. Copies of documents certified in accordance with this subsection constitute prima facie evidence of the existence of the facts stated therein.
(3)A certified copy of a person’s driving record, as maintained by the department:
(a)May be admitted as evidence in any hearing or proceeding under ORS 813.200 (Notice of availability of diversion) to 813.270 (Intoxicated Driver Program Fund).
(b)Is prima facie evidence that the person named therein was duly convicted of each offense shown by the record.
(c)Is prima facie evidence that the person named therein is participating in or has participated in a driving under the influence of intoxicants diversion program or in any similar alcohol or drug rehabilitation program in this state or in any other jurisdiction if the record shows that the person has participated in such a program.
(4)Records and actions described in this subsection shall not be referred to in any way or admitted into evidence or be any evidence of the negligence or due care of any party at the trial of any action at law to recover damages. This subsection applies to all of the following:
(a)The report required following an accident.
(b)Any action taken by the department to revoke or suspend a driver license or driver permit or taken by the department under the financial responsibility requirements of the vehicle code or the findings, if any, of the department upon which such action of the department is based.
(c)Any deposit of security required under the financial responsibility requirements of the vehicle code.
(5)Except as provided in this subsection, the accident reports filed with the department under ORS 811.725 (Driver failure to report accident to Department of Transportation), 811.730 (Owner failure to report accident to Department of Transportation) or 811.735 (Failure of vehicle occupant to make accident report to Department of Transportation) shall be without prejudice to the individual filing the report and no such report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident. The following uses are allowable under this subsection:
(a)The certificate issued by the department under ORS 802.220 (Availability of records) to show whether or not an accident report has been made to the department shall be used solely to prove a compliance or failure to comply with the requirements that the accident report be made to the department.
(b)An accident report submitted under ORS 811.725 (Driver failure to report accident to Department of Transportation) or 811.735 (Failure of vehicle occupant to make accident report to Department of Transportation) may be used in an administrative hearing or an appeal from such hearing to support any suspension of driving privileges for:
(A)Failure to make reports required under ORS 811.725 (Driver failure to report accident to Department of Transportation) or 811.735 (Failure of vehicle occupant to make accident report to Department of Transportation).
(B)Failure to comply with financial responsibility requirements or failure to comply with future responsibility filings.
(6)A photocopy, facsimile copy, digital or electronic copy of an application for perfection of a security interest by notation on a title under ORS 803.097 (Perfection of security interest in vehicle) that is certified by the department is proof of the date of perfection of the security interest unless the date is invalid as provided under ORS 803.097 (Perfection of security interest in vehicle).
(7)A report filed by a physician or health care provider under ORS 807.710 (Reports of persons with cognitive or functional impairment) is confidential and may not be admitted as evidence in any civil or criminal action. A report described in this subsection may be used in an administrative hearing or an appeal from an administrative hearing in which an issue is the qualification of a person to operate a motor vehicle. [1983 c.338 §128; 1985 c.16 §38; 1985 c.175 §4; 1987 c.441 §1; 1987 c.750 §3; 1989 c.148 §7; 1991 c.67 §210; 1991 c.702 §26; 1991 c.873 §22a; 1993 c.233 §13; 1999 c.1051 §279; 2001 c.675 §6; 2003 c.462 §2; 2003 c.655 §98]
Notes of Decisions
Under Former Similar Statute
Transfer of ownership occurs upon transfer of possession and control of vehicle, whether or not certificate of title has been transferred. Wisbey v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 264 Or 600, 507 P2d 17 (1973)
Evidence that automobile was paid for by ex-wife, and that she had had continuous possession of automobile until it was taken from her by ex-husband's employes, was sufficient to overcome presumption that ex-husband was entitled to possession of car because title was in his name. Brunk v. Horton, 280 Or 239, 570 P2d 382 (1977)