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Region Transportation Safety Newsletter, January 2015
2014 in the rearview mirror

Looking back on the past year, Oregon traffic fatalities increased by 12.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 (according to preliminary figures). Oregon pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclists deaths all increased during 2014.

Generally, Oregon traffic fatalities have been trending downward over the last 10 years and are approximately half the number of fatalities experienced in the late 1980s. 1972 was the year Oregon experienced its highest recorded traffic-related deaths with 737 people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Oregon’s roads.


Oregon Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities, 2005-2014 (preliminary)

There are a variety of factors that may have contributed to the increase in fatalities:  

  • People were driving more. The rebounding economy as well as lower gas prices helped put more vehicles on the road.
  • Every year, after crash reports are analyzed, “driver errors” top the list of reason for crashes – things like driving too fast for conditions, not using a safety belt, driving impaired, failing to yield right of way, passing illegally and inattentive driving.


The state’s goal is zero fatalities on Oregon’s roads, and our fatality rate (the number of people who are killed compared to the number of vehicle miles traveled) is below the national average. Still, there are a number of steps you can take to stay safe: 

  • Obey the speed limit. Excessive speed is a factor in many crashes and the most common one in crashes that result in fatalities.
  • Don’t drive, walk or ride impaired. Alcohol, illegal drugs and even some legal drugs can reduce the ability to use good judgment.
  • Buckle up, every trip, every time. Safety belts and child safety seats are the biggest contributors to saving lives in crashes.
  • Be alert – pay attention to the complex task of driving.



CDC looks at cost of crash injuries

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control recently focused on the costs of motor vehicle crash injuries and the burden these injuries have on the national health system. According to their report, more than 2.5 million Americans went to the emergency department —and nearly 200,000 were then hospitalized—for crash injuries in 2012. For every one person killed in a motor vehicle crash, there were eight people hospitalized and 100 treated and released from an ER. The best way to reduce medical costs and keep people safe is to prevent crashes in the first place. The CDC provides a list of motor vehicle injury prevention interventions that can be implemented. Full report (1.5MB PDF)




Animated safety videos address traffic problems

Eugene Police Department has produced a series of four PSAs to address some of the serious traffic problems in the community. Some of the top traffic violations are failure to obey a traffic control device, using a cell phone while driving, or driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). These safety issues are not unique to Eugene and are helpful for all Oregonians. Here is the second of four safety videos to help educate drivers.





Game plan for game day: Are you drinking or driving?

Between the Oregon vs. Ohio championship game and Super Bowl Sunday coming up, America’s eyes will be focused on our most watched national sporting events. On game day, lots of socializing may include drinking. Fans are urged to choose sides now: drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking during the game, designate a sober driver to get you home safely – whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi or public transportation. For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. You might just save a life

Oregon Traffic Crash Facts
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts
Region 4 (Bend)
Region 5 (La Grande)
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