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"Drive Sober. Save Lives This Halloween"
10/27/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Office: (503) 986-3438

As party-goers celebrate Halloween weekend an important safety message to "Drive Sober. Save lives this Halloween" will be stressed on many highway message signs, backed by a national enforcement blitz targeting drunk drivers.
 
Starting October 25th, law enforcement officers around the country have been on the watch for impaired drivers through Halloween night during an aggressive Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. enforcement blitz. State and local law enforcement officers across the region are committed to helping keep our roads safe for everyone out to enjoy this weekend.
 
Nighttime is a dangerous time to be on the road, but Halloween night is often times one of the deadliest of the year for crashes involving impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6:00 p.m., October 31, to 5:59 a.m., November 1) involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
 
A scarier and sobering fact is reflected by ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics: 90 percent of the fatalities (10) in Oregon on Halloween night between 1998 and 2009 occurred in alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes. Fortunately, last year on Halloween night there were no reported fatal crashes in Oregon.
 
During last year's busy Halloween Saturday night OSP troopers arrested 34 DUII drivers, more than twice the number arrested during 2008 (15), and Portland Police Bureau also reported 12 DUII arrests.
 
"Everyone should remember that there isn't a Halloween costume clever enough to hide an impaired driver who makes a poor decision to get behind the wheel," said OSP Superintendent Chris Brown.
 
ODOT, OSP and local law enforcement agencies offer these simple reminders for a safer Halloween:

 
For all drivers:
* Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals.
* Slow down on streets where there are no sidewalks and children are walking on or near street and shoulder of the road.
* Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and cautiously. Have child passengers enter and exit cars on the curb side, away from traffic.

 
For adult traffic safety:
* Be responsible — never drive impaired.
* If you plan to drink, choose your sober driver before going out.
* Be aware of weather and traffic conditions before you leave, adjusting your speed and driving to the conditions.
* If impaired, use mass transit, call a cab or ask a sober friend to get you home.
* If all else fails, just stay where you are and sleep it off.
* Always buckle up — it's still your best defense against an impaired driver.
* If hosting a Halloween party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
 
For parents and children:
* Dress children in bright costumes. Use reflective tape or stickers on dark costumes.
* Apply face paint or cosmetics appropriate for children directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision.
* If a mask is worn, cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
* Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to improve their visibility.
* Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
* Remind children to cross streets only at intersections.
* Teach them to stop and look for cars, looking to the left, right and left again before crossing, and then to keep looking both ways for cars while they cross.
* Teach them never to dart into a street or cross a street from between parked cars.
 
Elementary age pedestrians are at highest risk because they:
* Have a field of vision one-third narrower than an adult's.
* Are unable to determine the direction of sounds.
* Cannot accurately judge the speed or distance of moving vehicles.
* Overestimate their abilities.
* Are easily hidden by parked cars, bushes, leaf piles, trash bins, etc.
 
Everyone plays an important role in keeping our roads and children 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.