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Region Transportation Safety Newsletter, January 2014
New Year's Resolutions

It's the time of year to make your New Year's resolutions, resolving to start a new health regimen, working out at the gym, or volunteering in your community. We would like to offer a list of New Year's resolutions we can all adopt to make 2014 a safer year for everyone on our roads. Consider adopting these resolutions to help safe lives and prevent tragedies in your community.

  • I resolve not to drive when I have been drinking.
  • I resolve to call 1-800-24-DRUNK or 911 if I see someone I think is driving drunk.
  • I resolve not to knowingly let anyone drive buzzed, drunk or drugged.
  • I resolve to stay sober if I am the designated driver.
  • I resolve to give my kids a safe ride home - no questions asked.
  • I resolve to follow posted speed limits.
  • I resolve to not text or talk on my cell phone while driving.
  • I resolve to not call or text anyone when I think they may be driving.
  • I resolve to make sure everyone in the car is buckled up on every ride.
  • I resolve to have my child safety seats inspected by a certified professional.
  • I resolve to always keep an eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially during rainy or dark conditions.
  • I resolve to follow red light, safe turns and all other traffic laws.
  • I resolve to be a courteous commuter.

During the winter months when driving in the dark is more common, it is important that vehicles have proper lighting equipment, especially headlights. Some cars have high intensity headlights that may cause other drivers to experience discomfort and reduced visibility due to glare.


Make sure that your headlights are legal. Some after market replaceable light sources being sold are intended for off road or show use only and are not meant for highway use. Oregon law requires that headlights may NOT be blue, bluish or any other color than white or amber.


Please make sure that headlights are properly aimed so you get the benefit of the maximum field of vision for which your vehicle was designed.


Fine Increases for Mobile Device Usage

A new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 that changes Oregon’s traffic offense of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device from a Class D violation to a Class C. The minimum fine for a Class C violation is $142, and the fine for this offense can be as high as $500. The fine’s increase is aimed at reducing the number of crashes that involve a driver talking on a handheld phone or texting. In Oregon from 2009 to 2011, nine people died in crashes involving a driver who was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the crash, and 673 people have been injured.

Using a cell phone while driving falls under the category of “distracted driving,” and this type of distraction is an increasingly dangerous behavior across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the U.S. 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011.

The behavior is especially dangerous for younger drivers: 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving is dangerous. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed that physically dialing a phone while driving increases the risk of a crash as much as six times. Texting is riskier still, increasing the collision risk by 23 times.

Even though a majority of Oregonians believe texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving is unsafe, some still choose to do so. According to a 2012 phone survey of Oregon drivers, more than 70 percent said they know cell phones are a safety problem and that phoning and texting while driving are illegal. In spite of this, cell phone convictions in Oregon have steadily risen from an initial 40 in 2008 to 22,892 in 2012.


1 in 5 Drivers Admit "I Try to Get Where I Am Going As Fast As I Can"

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a new National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior in which nearly half of all drivers surveyed say speeding is a problem and one in five drivers surveyed admitted, “I try to get where I am going as fast as I can.” The majority of drivers, about four out of five, believed that driving at or near the speed limit makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations and reduces the chances of a crash. Despite the known safety benefits of following speed limits, motorists continue to drive at excessive speeds and put themselves at an increased risk of being injured. Learn more


Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk


Make the right play to save your life and others. Super Bowl Sunday is one of America's biggest and most entertaining national sporting events as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the big game. Yet, it has also become one of the Nation's most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driving. Law enforcement will be stepping up enforcement patrols to maintain safer roads. As Super Bowl Sunday approaches and football fans prepare for the game, designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone's Super Bowl party list. Drive sober. Save lives.

Region 5 (La Grande)
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