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Oregon Police Agencies Joining National DUII Crackdown
08/08/2008
Captain Gerry Gregg
Patrol Services Division
Office: (503) 934-0261
 
Ms. Gretchen McKenzie
ODOT Impaired Driving Program Manager
Office: (503) 986-4183
 
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

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NHTSA 2006 Oregon Report
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(Note: Media ride-along requests should be directed to your local Oregon State Police office, county sheriff department, or city police agency)
 
For more information on the crackdown, visit the High-Visibility Enforcement Campaign Headquarters at www.StopImpairedDriving.org and more information about Oregon's Impaired Driving Program, along with statistics and laws, visit ODOT's Transportation Safety Division program website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/impaireddrivingprogram.shtml.
 
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Each year many lives are lost in Oregon by impaired drivers; a crisis faced throughout America and a problem especially acute during the summer months.
 
That's why many Oregon law enforcement agencies today announced they will join more than 10,000 police agencies throughout the country in support of an intensive crackdown on impaired driving starting August 15th through the end of Labor Day weekend, September 1st. Nationally, more than $50 million will be spent on this year's crackdown, known by its tagline: Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.
 
Nationally, in 2006 alone, nearly 13,500 people died in crashes in which the driver or motorcycle rider was legally impaired, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thirty-two percent of motor vehicle driving fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above – an average of one fatality every 39 minutes.
 
While Oregon statistics show the percentage of fatalities determined to be alcohol-related has decreased from 42.9% in 1997 to 37.4% in 2006, DUII offenses increased during that same period more than ten percent.
 
"All too often, innocent people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life. Because we are committed to ending these senseless tragedies, I strong support intensified enforcement efforts during the crackdown. I ask all Oregonians to be especially vigilant during high-risk nighttime hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads," said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.
 
Oregon State Police joins the Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA) and Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) in supporting the aggressive focus for all impaired drivers during the crackdown. Oregon police officers will arrest anyone they find driving while impaired – regardless of age, vehicle type or time of day.
 
"The message from Oregon law enforcement agencies is simple and unwavering. If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions," said Captain Gerry Gregg, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division. "Even if you think you have beat the odds of being caught and walk away from an impaired driving crash alive, motorists should be aware that officers can follow up on these incidents and you may still face legal consequences."
 
In addition to the individual officer efforts to look for impaired drivers many areas around the State will see interagency enforcement patrols, some that will be supported through the use of Oregon's latest tool to help keep intoxicated drivers off our highways and facilitate the processing of arrested DUII drivers to help get officers back on the road quicker.
 
Through a $171,000 grant from ODOTs Transportation Safety Division, a 2007 36-foot Winnebago Voyage motor home was purchased with retrofitted equipment necessary to test and process intoxicated drivers. The Mobile DUII Processing Center (MDPC) equipment includes three Intoxilyzer Model 8000 breath-alcohol testing equipment, three work stations with laptops and printers, and two temporary holding cells. The unit also includes emergency supplies, cell phones and radio communications equipment.
 
The MPDC will roll into Wasco County for the crackdown's opening weekend, August 15th and 16th, in support of an impaired driving enforcement effort during the Wasco County Fair. On August 23rd, Clackamas County area police agencies will also use the MDPC as part of an interagency DUII enforcement operation.
 
According to Gretchen McKenzie, ODOT's Transportation Safety Division Impaired Driving Program Manager, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, increased insurance rates, financial hits and the potential loss of job or job prospects. In 2006, over 25,000 people arrested for DUII faced some of these realities.
 
"Driving impaired is simply not worth all the consequences. So don't take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you're under arrest," said McKenzie.
 
Oregon law enforcement agencies will join together, statewide, in the national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Crackdown organized by NHTSA. The crackdown combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT offer these key reminders not only during the crackdown period but throughout the year:
  • Play it safe and responsible, don't drink and drive
  • Plan ahead, designating a sober driver if you are going out
  • Be particularly careful driving between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. when even though there is less traffic, nearly half of all impaired driving fatalities occur
  • Be watchful for emergency vehicles displaying required warning lights and using emergency equipment. Yield when required and maintain a safe distance when they are working on our highways.
 
All motorists play an important role in keeping our highways and city streets safe. Immediately report intoxicated and dangerous drivers to 9-1-1 or Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).