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Drive Sober, Attentive, and Buckled Up This Labor Day Holiday Weekend
08/31/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Phone: (503) 986-3438

(Note: Media requests for ride-alongs or interviews should be directed to your local OSP office. A list of OSP office numbers is available in the Regional Contact Information link on our website)
 
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Impaired driving is a serious problem, one that law enforcement officers in Oregon and around the country will continue to target through the Labor Day holiday weekend as part of a national campaign, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. This is one of two national traffic safety campaigns aimed to prevent and reduce injuries and deaths on our highways around the holiday weekend.
 
Police officers in Oregon and around the country started stepping up impaired driving enforcement efforts August 20, and are keeping the pressure on through the holiday weekend, September 3 - 6. Coinciding with efforts to remove impaired drivers off the road is a statewide effort running August 30 through September 12 monitoring safety belt usage, with an emphasis on child passengers.
 
Last year during the national crackdown period, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers reported a 13 percent increase in the number of DUII arrests as compared to the previous year. The highly publicized enforcement efforts by Oregon police officers may have had an impact as the Labor Day holiday weekend approached. Prior to the holiday weekend OSP troopers reported a 60 percent jump in the number of reported DUII arrests, but during the holiday weekend reported DUII arrests dropped 18 percent drop compared to the 2008 Labor Day holiday period.
 
Fatal crash statistics tracked by ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicate the Labor Day holiday period is historically the second deadliest on Oregon roads. Since 1970, an average of seven traffic-related deaths happens in Oregon each year during the Labor Day holiday weekend. Last year, two people died on Oregon roads during the 78-hour reporting period, September 4 – 7. One victim was the lone occupant in a single vehicle rollover crash in Josephine County and the second was a pedestrian who died five days after being struck in Klamath County.
 
OSP Captain Joel Lujan, Patrol Services Division director, pointed out that while it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher in every state, impairment may start with the first drink, particularly when mixed with other substances.
 
"All too often, innocent people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of a loved one due to this careless disregard for human life. We continue our commitment to stopping this carnage, intensifying enforcement efforts and being especially vigilant during high-risk nighttime hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads," said Lujan.
 
The Transportation Safety Division (TSD) of ODOT supports Oregon's law enforcement agencies as they work together to crackdown on impaired drivers.
 
"We applaud all of our officers and those who support their enforcement efforts by planning ahead and pledging not to drink and drive. Everyone wins when our roads are safer," said Troy E. Costales, TSD administrator.
 
The Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel:
  • Be watchful for emergency vehicles and workers. 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.
  • 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. Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. 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.
  • Know before you go. When traveling anywhere, plan ahead and take know routes if possible. Visiting TripCheck.com on the Internet provides information on road and weather conditions, incidents and traffic delays, and links to numerous cameras along major routes.
  • Buckle up every trip, every time. Be sure to use child safety seats correctly.
  • Don't drink and drive.
 
Lujan urged everyone to play an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe by immediately reporting aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.