|Lieutenant Gregg Hastings|
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247
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"Click It or Ticket" runs May 21 - June 3
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Oregon State Police
Motorists who drive impaired, refuse to use their safety restraints, or make other dangerous driving decisions should expect to draw the attention of law enforcement officers statewide during the 2012 Memorial Day holiday weekend. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers, county sheriffs and local police officers will step up enforcement efforts, beginning May 21 and continuing into early June, to help save lives by cracking down.
The increased enforcement efforts, part of the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, cover theMemorial Holiday period, which begins 6:00 p.m., Friday, May 25 and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 28, and run through June 3. The focus will be on making sure child passengers are properly buckled up; ensuring traffic "moves over" for emergency vehicles; and getting impaired drivers off the road.
During the 2011* Memorial Day holiday period, ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reports four people died in four separate traffic crashes in Oregon. Since 1970, 259 people have died in Oregon traffic crashes during the "summer-kickoff" holiday period. More than half (54 percent) of those fatalities were the result of alcohol-involved crashes. Since 2000, 14 people in Oregon who died in crashes over Memorial Day were unbelted.
OSP Deputy Superintendent Richard Evans urged travelers to avoid a tough reminder from police officers by buckling up, driving safe and sober, and having a well-rested person operating every vehicle.
"Day or night, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk when they drive without any consideration for safety. Those who choose not to drive safely or don't buckle up every time shouldn't be surprised if police pull them over and enforcement action is taken," said Evans.
Carla Levinski, ODOT's Occupant Protection Program Manager, noted research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that most of Oregon's unbuckled fatalities occur on weekday afternoons (typically commuting times) and between the hours of 6:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. on weekends. Grants from ODOT to OSP and Oregon county and city police agencies for overtime help put the extra patrols on the road to target safety violations.
"ODOT supports conducting daytime and nighttime enforcement of safety belt laws during the upcoming nationwide campaign and year-round," Levinski said. "We know that using the proper safety restraint - for both children and adults - saves lives right here in Oregon."
In 2010, 70 people in Oregon who died in car crashes were unrestrained. That same year, an observed use survey showed 40 percent of children aged 5 - 8 were not riding in booster seats, as required by law. Putting child passengers in the wrong restraint system can be deadly, Levinski said.
"Instead, children have to 'graduate' through a series of different-sized restraints until they are grown enough to fit in the adult lap and shoulder belt," she said. "It's important for parents and caregivers to know what Oregon law requires and then follow those best practices." (See Oregon law below.)
During the previous five Memorial Day holiday weekends, OSP troopers arrested over 400 DUII drivers, including 88 DUII drivers arrested during last year's 78-hour period. Troopers' stepped up enforcement efforts also support Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) and the work of other law enforcement agencies in Oregon and around the country to discourage the most common causes of injury crashes - speeding and impaired drivers.
Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA), Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), and ODOT offer the following safety reminders:
- Get rested before you are tested. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Be patient and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Pay attention. An inattentive driver is a growing safety concern on our roads and an increasing factor in traffic crashes.
- Know before you go: Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1.
- Even when workers are not present, all work zone 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. Don't tailgate and check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of our roads.
- Always use safety restraints and child safety seats correctly (seewww.childsafetyseat.org for free safety seat clinics and proper buckling tips).
- Don't drink and drive; don't be impaired and drive. These can be deadly combinations.
- 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.
OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT remind every traveling person - bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists alike - that we all have individual responsibility for keeping our roads safe. Immediately report aggressive, dangerous and intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or call OSP at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).
Oregon law requires the following:
- A child weighing less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a child safety seat.
- A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a child seat, rear facing.
- A child over forty pounds or who has reached the upper weight limit of their forward-facing car seat must be restrained in a booster seat until they reach age eight or 4'9" in height and the adult safety belt system fits them correctly.
Best practice (but not Oregon law): Children age 12 and under should sit in the back seat.
To view a 3-minute movie explaining Oregon belt laws:
*Numbers for 2011 are preliminary
NOTE: Questions regarding your local OSP or other law enforcement agency enforcement efforts should be directed to those OSP offices or other agencies. OSP media ridealong requests should be arranged through your local OSP office before the holiday weekend starts.