Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
ODOT Public Affairs
Leading up to this weekend's Labor Day holiday weekend, Oregon State Police (OSP), along with nearly 10,000 law enforcement agencies, are in the midst of the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign to curb impaired driving and prevent traffic crashes that impact lives and affects those traveling on our highways.
The nationwide impaired driving campaign includes high-visibility enforcement backed by increased awareness efforts to curb impaired driving in August and through the Labor Day holiday weekend reporting period starting 6:00 p.m., August 31 through 11:59 p.m., September 3. Oregon troopers, deputies and city police officers will continue to aggressively look for impaired drivers during the crackdown and arrest anyone caught driving impaired. Drivers will also have reminders around the state during the holiday weekend with the Oregon Department of Transportation's variable message signs reading, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
Oregon State Police (OSP) Superintendent Richard Evans said that despite the fact that every driver should know it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle or motorcycle while impaired; thousands of people get behind the wheel each year while under the influence and endanger themselves and others on the road.
"The consequences from impaired driving are deadly serious. Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk, so don't take the chance this holiday weekend or any day," said Evans.
OSP will use overtime grant funds to increase enforcement efforts targeting impaired drivers, unbuckled adults and children, and to get drivers to obey speed laws on Interstate and secondary state highways. Some examples of tactical efforts include:
* Coos Bay Area Command office will use DUII overtime grant funds to put two extra troopers on Highways 38 and 42 on Friday and Saturday evening.
* The Dalles Area Command office will use DUII overtime grant funds to put an additional trooper out on area roads Sunday and Monday evening.
* La Grande Area Command office will use overtime grant funds to put two extra troopers on patrol five hours each evening Friday through Monday targeting DUII, speed, and safety restraint violators.
* Salem Area Command office will use overtime grant funds to put an additional trooper on duty each afternoon Friday through Monday.
During last year's Labor Day holiday reporting period, 6:00 p.m., September 2, through 11:59 p.m., September 5:
* Two fatal crashes occurred on Oregon roads resulting in the death of 3 people. Neither fatal crash was alcohol-involved.
* OSP troopers reported 70 DUII arrests during last year's Labor Day holiday weekend, slightly up from 67 arrests reported over the 2010 holiday weekend.
According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a brief look at Labor Day holiday traffic crash statistics in Oregon since 1970 indicates:
* Fatalities average seven each year in Oregon over this holiday weekend.
* Since record-keeping began, more than 280 people have died during this holiday period, making it the second deadliest major holiday of the year.
* Alcohol is a contributing factor in over half of the traffic fatal crashes.
* The highest number of traffic fatalities occurred in 1978 when 17 people died.
* Oregon has never experienced a fatal-free Labor Day holiday weekend. Single fatality reporting periods occurred in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2010.
Young adults are often those most at risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fifty-four percent of young (18 to 34 years old) drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2010 in the U.S. were alcohol-impaired.
Additionally, Oregon law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for unrestrained adults and children as part of a safety belt / child safety seat enforcement blitz, August 27 through September 9. OSP, sheriff offices, and local police agencies will be putting extra patrols on the road using federal overtime grants from NHTSA focusing on proper safety belt and child restraint use.
The Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel:
* Be watchful for emergency vehicles and workers. MOVE OVER if you are approaching any type of emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle which is stopped on the roadside with emergency lights activated.
* Get rested before you are tested. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
* Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1. Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. In work zones, even when workers are not present, all speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert.
* Share the road. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially at night. Bicyclists and pedestrians need to make sure motorists can see them, and motorists needs to make sure they are seen.
* Buckle up every trip, every time. Be sure to use child safety seats correctly.
* Be alert and avoid distractions.
* Drive sober.
Everyone is urged to play an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe by immediately reporting aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.
For help with child seats or additional "best practice" information, refer to the seat manufacturer's instructions, vehicle owner's manual or call ACTS Oregon Child Safety Seat Resource Center at (503) 643-5620 in Portland or (877) 793-2608.