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Oregon State Police Extend Increased Impaired Driving Enforcement Efforts Through Holiday Season
12/11/2008
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Pager: (503) 323-3195
 
Gretchen McKenzie
ODOT Impaired Driving Program Manager
Office: (503) 986-4183
 
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Office: (503) 986-3438

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
http://www.flashnews.net/images/news/holiday_snowman72dpiRGB.jpg 
 
Starting with a 20-day nationwide enforcement crackdown, Oregon State Police (OSP) will be joining other Oregon law enforcement agencies through the end of December and into the New Year for increased enforcement to find and remove impaired drivers from area highways. The enhanced enforcement supports Governor Kulongoski's proclamation of December as "Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness" month.
Holiday Impaired Driving Safety 
Oregon police agencies will extend DUII enforcement efforts for the holiday season starting Saturday, December 13th, through the end of the month as part of an intensified enforcement crackdown against impaired drivers underscoring the severity of the problem both locally and across the nation. Stepped up enforcement will continue through the New Year's holiday extended weekend.
 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 992 people were killed in December 2007 crashes that involved a drunk driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher - above the legal limit in every state as well as the District of Columbia.
 
"No amount of good cheer will be able to save you from the consequences of driving under the influence," said Captain Gerry Gregg, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division. "There will be no exceptions or excuses whether you are driving with a ‘buzz' or ‘falling down drunk.' You will be arrested."
 
An example of some of the local interagency efforts happens December 12 and 13 in Douglas County. State, county and several city police agencies are teaming together with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office and traffic safety partners in an educational and enforcement approach to discourage impaired driving. More information about this local project is available on our website at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/NEWSRL/news/12_10_2008_douglas_county_overlimit_underarrest.shtml.
 
During December and into the first weekend of 2009 there are three important periods:
 
* "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" (12:01 a.m., Friday, December 19th, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 21st), a public awareness effort on the weekend before Christmas that is part of OPERATION C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) which occurs particularly during national holiday periods.
 
* Christmas Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 24th, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 28th). During the 102-hour 2007 Christmas holiday period, two people were killed in two separate Oregon traffic crashes. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics, an average of 4 fatalities have occurred each year over this holiday period during the last ten years. OSP troopers arrested nearly 50 DUII drivers during last year's Christmas holiday period.
 
* New Year's Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 31st, through 11:59 p.m., January 4, 2009). During last year's Operation C.A.R.E. 78-hour New Year's holiday period, four people died in four separate crashes on Oregon roads. According to FARS, an average of more than five fatalities has occurred each year over this holiday period during the last ten years. OSP troopers arrested 81 DUII drivers during last year's New Year's holiday period.
 
A NHTSA national study released last year showed the daily death toll from impaired driving crashes during the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods is significantly more than for the rest of the year. The report showed from 2001 - 2005, an average of 36 fatalities occurred per day on America's roadways as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That number increased to 45 per day during the Christmas period and to 54 per day over the New Year's holiday.
 
OSP and ODOT urge holiday travelers to remember these tips:
 
* Don't drink and drive ("Buzzed driving is drunk driving"), and don't ride with anyone who has had too much to drink.
* Never use illegal drugs.
* Volunteer to be a designated driver.
* If someone who's been drinking insists on driving, take his/her keys.
* If hosting a gathering, provide non-alcoholic beverages.
* Use public transit or local drive-home services provided by taxis and other companies.
* Always use safety restraints.
* Avoid travel after midnight, especially on weekends or holidays.
* Drive defensively at all times.
* Report any suspected impaired driving by calling 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or 
   9-1-1.
 
Drivers will not only face challenges with more intoxicated drivers and other associated traffic issues but they will also have to handle winter-related road conditions. A year-old publication, the "Oregon Winter Driving Guide" developed by the Governor's Transportation/Tourism Task Force, is available to help motorists safely navigate the roads this winter.
 

The "Oregon Winter Driving Guide" contains information on Oregon's laws that govern use of tire chains, tips for driving in icy or snowy conditions, and a checklist of equipment for roadside emergencies. The free guide is available at visitor information centers and convention bureaus, welcome centers and information kiosks, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Department of Transportation offices, and from members of the Oregon Lodging Association. The guide is also available online at tripcheck.com, traveloregon.com, oregontic.com, and oregonlodging.com. A link is also available on the Oregon State Police web site.
 
For the safety of emergency responders working everyday, remember Oregon has a "Move Over Law." It states if you are driving up behind any type of police car or emergency vehicle pulled over on the roadside with emergency lights flashing, you must:
 
* Move over into another lane.
* If you can't safely change lanes, slow down.
* In all cases, the driver must try to provide as much room as possible for the emergency vehicle.
 
For more information about the national effort against impaired driving, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org  .
 
### www.oregon.gov/OSP  ###