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Stepped Up Enforcement Aims to Reduce Crashes on Belt Line Road in Eugene
01/14/2009
Lieutenant Mike Bloom
Oregon State Police - Springfield
Office: (541) 726-2536

Oregon State Police working in cooperation with Eugene Police Department, Lane County Sheriff's Office and ODOT will kick off a long term plan Thursday aimed at reducing crashes and associated damage, injuries and deaths in targeted Lane County areas. Other specific area roads are also on the radar for future stepped up enforcement.
 
"All of our agencies want to have a positive impact toward improving traffic safety in our communities and on area highways. We've looked over ODOT's crash data and devised a tactical plan targeting six problem zones in our patrol area where we think our visible enforcement efforts can help reduce traffic crashes and improve highway safety," said OSP Lieutenant Mike Bloom, Springfield Area Command.
 
Starting at 7:00 a.m., January 15, 2009, a six mile stretch of Belt Line Highway between River Road and Interstate 5 will be the first focus of an interagency enforcement effort involving state, county and city police officers. Bloom pointed out that this four lane highway physically divided by a concrete barrier experiences a very high traffic volume during peak commuter times with significant congestion magnified by crashes interrupting the traffic flow.
 
"The predominate type of crash in this zone is a rear end collision commonly associated with vehicles approaching congestion at speeds unsafe for roadway and heavy traffic flow conditions," said Bloom.
 
ODOT traffic crash data on this six mile stretch for 2005 - 2007 indicated that out of 267 reported crashes, driving too fast for conditions was noted in 158 crashes (59 percent). The second highest contributing factor in 54 crashes was following too close.
 
Putting officers in a position to have a significant impact on known problems is one of the main strategies of a long-term plan developed at the OSP Springfield Area Command office. Strategies are being developed using ongoing data analysis, trooper ideas, and input from local police partners and ODOT. Eugene police is partnering with OSP for the Belt Line Road zone project.
 
Four other zones selected by OSP to receive increased, targeted enforcement are:
  • Highway 126E between milepost 9 and 18 east of Springfield.
  • Highway 126W between milepost 12 and 24.
  • Highway 101 between milepost 167 and 187 north of Florence to the Lane / Lincoln County line.
  • Highway 58 between milepost 56 and 63, a seasonally affected highway east of Oakridge.
 
A sixth special zone plan is being developed to address car break-in problems along Highway 126E.
 
State, county and city police agencies involved in Wednesday's enforcement effort also want to remind drivers to pay attention and "move over" for police and emergency workers not only on this stretch of Belt Line Highway but also along all roadways.
 
The "Move Over" law (ORS 811.147) states that if you are driving up behind or next to any type of emergency vehicle - police car, ambulance or public safety vehicle - working on the roadside with emergency lights flashing, you must:
  • Move over to another lane.
  • If you cannot safely change lanes, you must slow down.
  • In all cases, the driver must try to provide as much room as possible for the emergency vehicle.
 
Failure to comply with the "Move Over" law can result in a fine up to $355.