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Remember to drive Safe, Sober and Buckled Up this Memorial Holiday Weekend
05/24/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 986-3438

Photograph link valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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(Note: Media ride-along requests should be directed to your local OSP office. All media representatives are required to submit a completed ride-along request form or have one already on file before approval. Forms may be obtained through the local OSP office.)
 
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Focusing ahead at the challenges faced during what historically has the highest percentage of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities of all major holidays during the year, police agencies throughout Oregon urge all travelers to drive safe and sober, and buckle up this Memorial Day holiday extended weekend.
 
Starting Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers will join law enforcement agencies in Oregon and around the country stepping up enforcement efforts during Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). This special nationwide program coincides with the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, May 24 – June 6.
 
ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reports that five people died in four separate fatal traffic crashes during the 2009 Memorial Day holiday period, May 22 – 25. More than 250 people have died in Oregon traffic crashes during the last 40 years over the Memorial Day holiday period. Since 1985, approximately 54 percent of the fatalities were in alcohol-involved crashes.
 
OSP Superintendent Timothy McLain urges everyone traveling this holiday weekend, whether long distance or on short drives near home, to support the enforcement efforts and safety restraint mobilization.
 
"Be prepared for the stepped up enforcement activities by buckling yourself and your child passengers before you go. Have a rested, sober driving at all times and report those whose driving is posing a danger to others on our roads," said McLain.
 
During the last three years' Memorial Day holiday weekends, OSP troopers arrested more than 250 people for DUII, including 88 DUII drivers arrested during last year's 102-hour holiday period. Troopers also responded to about 100 reported traffic crashes, assisted over 500 disabled motorists, and made over 6,000 traffic-related enforcement contacts.
 
According to ODOT's Occupant Protection Program, lack of safety belt use was a major factor in half of all Oregon motor vehicle occupant deaths last year. Alarmingly, one in three children under age 8 killed or injured in crashes were using adult belt systems or were totally unrestrained rather than riding in child seats appropriate for their size.
 
Nationally, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who died in 2008 traffic crashes between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. were not searing their safety belts. During daytime hours between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. less than half (45%) of the passenger vehicles occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained.
 
"Nighttime drivers and passengers continue to be among those least likely to wear seat belts. Consequently, they are also among those most likely to die in motor vehicle crashes. Even though it may be dark doesn't mean we can't see someone unbuckled in a vehicle, so we will join other Oregon law enforcement agencies supporting the enhanced enforcement of safety restraint laws during the Click It or Ticket campaign," said McLain.
 
More information about the "Click It or Ticket" campaign is available on ODOT's website at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/safetybelts.shtml and at www.nhtsa.gov.
 
Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel:

  • Get plenty of rest before starting out. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Be aware that ODOT is in the midst of the busiest highway construction season ever. 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.
  • Always use safety restraints and child safety seats correctly.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • 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.

 
Everyone plays an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe. Immediately report aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.