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One Goal - Save Lives: DUII Crackdown August 21 - September 7
08/17/2009
Chuck Hayes, Chair
Governor's Advisory Committee on DUII
(503) 585-0055
 
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 986-3438
 
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Oregon State Police
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

The Oregon Governor's Advisory Committee on DUII, in conjunction with the Oregon State Police, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association and the Oregon Department of Transportation, announces that police officers statewide will be intensifying efforts beginning August 21 as part of the national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. campaign, which runs through Labor Day. To kick off the state's participation, traffic safety partners will hold an alcohol impairment awareness demonstration Tuesday, August 18 at the Portland Police Bureau's Southeast Precinct. The goal: raise awareness about the importance of driving sober so we can save lives.
 
Driving under the influence is one of America's deadliest crimes. In Oregon last year, 136 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired crashes, according to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Over the 2008 Labor Day weekend alone, nine people died in crashes involving alcohol or drugs. Nationwide in 2008, nearly 12,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
 
"Far too many people are lost every year to drunk driving," said Governor Ted Kulongoski. "Through enforcement and educational efforts like this, we can reduce the amount of drunken driving crashes on our roads and save lives."
 
According to FARS, the Labor Day holiday period is historically the second deadliest on Oregon roads of all the holiday periods throughout the year. Last year's deadly crashes in Oregon
occurred on roadways in nearly every corner of the state including Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, Coos, Grant, Harney and Yamhill counties. The picture for motorcycle riders, both across the country and in Oregon, is particularly bleak. In 2008, motorcyclist fatalities continued their 11-year increase nationwide, reaching 5,290. In Oregon in 2008, 48 motorcyclists died in crashes; 18 of those were in alcohol-involved crashes. (Data from previous years has shown that while motorcycle registrations have increased, the increase in motorcycle fatalities has increased more steeply.)
 
A couple examples of the tragic alcohol or drug-related crashes that occurred during last year's Labor Day holiday weekend include:
  • On Saturday, August 30, at approximately 2:58 a.m., a 59-year old man and 60-year old woman died when their car crashed into a light pole at the intersection of SE 10th Street and SE Walnut Street in Hillsboro. According to Hillsboro police, drugs and failure to use safety restraints were factors.
  • On Sunday, August 31, at approximately 10:24 a.m., a 48-year old Grand Ronde man died after losing control of his car and flipping several times on the Highway 18 business loop between Willamina and Sheridan. The Oregon State Police investigation confirmed alcohol, speed and failure to use safety restraints were all contributing factors.
 
The national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. impaired driving crackdown is a organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and supported by law enforcement throughout the nation. It focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity. This year's effort is supported by $13 million in paid national advertising to help put everyone on notice that if they are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested.
 
"Make no mistake. Our message is simple and to the point. No matter what you drive — a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle or motorcycle — if you get caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested," said Chuck Hayes, chair of the Governor's Advisory Committee on DUII and retired director of the Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division. "Driving under the influence is just not acceptable."
 
Last year during the Labor Day holiday period, August 29 – September 1, Oregon State Police troopers reported 87 DUII arrests. This was an increase from the 2007 and 2006 Labor Day holiday weekends when OSP troopers arrested 78 intoxicated drivers each year.
 
To help raise awareness and address the problem of impaired driving, the Oregon Governor's Advisory Committee on DUII, together with the Oregon State Police, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, Oregon State Sheriffs Association, Portland Police Bureau, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, MADD, Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, and other concerned groups will conduct an alcohol impairment awareness demonstration at the Portland Police Bureau Southeast Precinct, located at 4735 E. Burnside, Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Volunteers will consume various amounts of alcohol and will be tested by police officers to demonstrate the intoxicating effects of alcohol and how these effects relate to driving. The field sobriety tests to be demonstrated at the event will include the horizontal gaze nystagmus eye test, the walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand test.
 
"I believe enforcement of the impaired driver is one of the most serious and important issues facing law enforcement. There are more deaths, injuries and property damage caused by the impaired driver than with any other crimes we deal with as police officers," said Gresham Police Chief Craig Junginger.
 
Several Oregon legislators will also be present at the DUII awareness event to discuss some of the impaired driving legislation passed during the last session. Key law enforcement personnel will also be present to discuss their agencies' special enforcement activities planned during the crackdown period. The event schedule is as follows:
 
10:00 a.m. – Event kickoff/Briefing with volunteer drinkers
11:00 a.m. – Alcohol workshop begins
11:30 a.m. – Legislators and invited guests arrive
12:00 p.m. – Interviews with invited guests and law enforcement
1:00 p.m. – Field sobriety demonstrations
3:00 p.m. – Final breath tests and event wrap-up
 
"Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Oregon, yet we continue to experience far too many injuries and deaths as a result of impaired driving. This careless disregard for human life is not worth the risk and it must stop because you not only risk killing yourself or someone else, but you risk creating the significant trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving," said Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson, President of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association.
 
For more information about the national crackdown, visit www.StopImpairedDriver.org.
 
A list of individuals tentatively scheduled to be present at the event and available for media interviews is as follows:
Sheriff Craig Roberts, Clackamas County
Sheriff Skipper, Multnomah County
Chief Scott Anderson, Troutdale PD
Chief Geoff Spalding, Beaverton PD
Deputy Chief Chris Skinner, Hillsboro PD
Senator Rod Monroe
Representative Kevin Cameron
Chuck Hayes, Chair, Governor's Advisory Committee on DUII