November 25, 2013
Fran Clader, Director of Communications
California Highway Patrol
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Links to ODOT Crash Analysis & Reporting Unit statistics for 2012 Interstate 5 crashes in Oregon by County, by Month, by Collision Type, and by Hour by Day of Week:
Leaders of the three state police agencies along the West Coast are issuing a challenge to drivers: “Arrive Alive on I-5” this holiday weekend.
On Monday, November 25, 2013, the leaders from California Highway Patrol (CHP), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and Oregon State Police (OSP) announced they are joining forces for the “I-5 Challenge”, encouraging drivers to get through the Thanksgiving Holiday extended weekend period with zero fatalities on Interstate 5 (I-5).
Starting Wednesday, November 27, state law enforcement officers from San Diego, California, through Oregon, and up to Bellingham, Washington, will be targeting enforcement efforts on the road. Using a mix of enforcement to get voluntary compliance of traffic laws and education outreach, the message will kick off one of the busiest travel times of the year on our nation’s highways during the Thanksgiving Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 27, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 1).
CHP, WSP and OSP officers will focus on traffic crash-causing violations that are known to be factors that often lead to tragedies and end in people not arriving safely to their destinations. Speed, aggressive and distracted driving often top the list, along with driving while impaired and failing to use safety belts and child safety seats.
Four simple strategies for drivers this holiday weekend can help you and your state’s law enforcement officers keep our highways safer:
* Slow down;
* Pack your patience;
* Drive sober;
* Buckle up.
“Speed continues to be a leading killer on our highways and, mixed with aggressive driving, it is even more deadly,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “This weekend, plan ahead and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. Dangerous driving will not get you there sooner; it just creates hazardous driving conditions for you and everyone else on the road.”
OSP Superintendent Richard Evans emphasized that all three agencies are joining highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country on the lookout for impaired drivers.
“Join us in the commitment to keep our highways safer by having a designated sober driver at all times,” Evans said. “Driving while impaired seriously jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others on the road around you.”
All three law enforcement leaders expressed their appreciation that each state has excellent compliance rates for seat-belt use, but they also said more can be done as evidenced by the fact that unrestrained vehicle occupants continue to die in traffic crashes. WSP Chief John Batiste notes that more than a hundred people lost their lives in his state in 2012 while not using seat belts.
“It’s bad enough that we have to notify a family, on what should be a holiday, that they’ve lost a loved one in a traffic collision,” Batiste said. “It’s doubly heartbreaking when simply buckling up could have saved that person’s life.”
The agency leaders stressed that the “I-5 Challenge” is a challenge to prevent traffic fatalities, not a competition between police agencies for issuing citations or making arrests. Each agency will mix strategies to provide additional enforcement presence including using overtime grant funding and shifting of available resources already on the road to the I-5 corridor.
You can join the effort by committing to driving safely at all times and reporting possible intoxicated or dangerous driver to 9-1-1 or your state law enforcement agency’s dispatch center. In Oregon, reports along state highways and Interstate 5 can be made to OSP at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).
Interstate 5 is the main Interstate Highway on the West Coast. Running 308 miles border-to-border in Oregon, I-5 travels through several of the state’s largest cities. A total of 2,000 traffic crashes on I-5 were reported last year to ODOT’s Crash Analysis & Reporting Unit, of which the highest number (242) occurred in November. Preliminary data from 2012 indicates 9 people were killed in collisions on I-5 in Oregon. During the five year period of 2008 - 2012, a total of 82 people have died in 77 traffic crashes along Interstate 5 in Oregon.
More than a third of all reported crashes along I-5 in Oregon happens in Multnomah County where Portland Police Bureau (PPB) provides primary incident response and enforcement duties. In partnership with Oregon State Police, the PPB is supporting the tri-state “I-5 Challenge“ effort by increasing their enforcement focus during the holiday period on the 15-mile stretch of freeway in the state’s largest city.
Since 1970, 238 people have died on Oregon roads during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Last year two people died in 2 separate crashes, neither occurring on Interstate 5.
Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation remind Oregon travelers of these important safety tips:
Getting Ready for the Trip
* Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.
* Stay informed about weather and road conditions, potential traffic hazards and highway closures in Oregon by visiting www.TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1
* Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving starting with good tires, a good battery, and a full tank of gas.
* Make sure your heater, defroster and windshield wipers are working properly; clear windows and headlights before you leave.
* Heading towards snow or ice? Practice putting your chains on before you head out! See the helpful video on YouTube – How to install tire chains: http://youbu.be/_8RVbDuyOcy
* Carry an emergency kit and chains or traction tires, especially if traveling over mountain passes.
* Snacks and bottled water also are a good idea for long trips, especially with children.
* Carry a map in case weather or road conditions force you to take a detour. Keep family members or friends aware of any significant changes in your planned route before you take the unplanned route.
* Get plenty of rest before you leave on any trip.
* Make sure everyone is using safety restraints and secure any cargo.
* Always have a designated driver for any holiday activities that include alcohol.
On the Road:
* Drive according to conditions. If it's wet, icy, snowy or foggy, slow down and increase your following distance behind other vehicles to at least a four-second distance. Keep in mind that conditions may not be perfect to drive at the posted speed.
* Use headlights even in daylight to help other drivers see you.
* Don't use cruise control in wet, icy, snowy or foggy conditions.
* In snow or ice, remember that bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze and the last to thaw; be alert!
* Be patient with all the other traffic on the highways.
* Watch out for pedestrians now that the days are shorter and darker, and remember they're often in dark clothing.
* If you get tired or drowsy, stop and rest during your trip or get a rested and sober licensed driver behind the wheel.
* There are still many construction zones on our highways, and even though work will be inactive over the holiday weekend there may be equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway. Stay alert and slow down because all work zone speed limits still apply and fines increase in these areas.
* Don't drink and drive or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
(Media note: Requests for local OSP ride-alongs should be directed to your local OSP office)
The Oregon State Police are a full-service public safety agency providing diverse services to the citizens of Oregon. Our mission is to enhance livability and safety by protecting the people, property, and natural resources of the state. To realize our vision and accomplish our mission our objectives are to BE THERE (be ready and able to respond to the increasing needs of Oregonians); PREVENT HARM (engage in vigilant enforcement of laws and regulations while making Oregon's roadways safe and reducing our citizen's exposure to crime, fire and disasters); and, SUPPORT OREGON COMMUNITIES (providing specialized services and assistance throughout Oregon in support of the statewide public safety infrastructure).