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Law Enforcement Leaders Announce Participation in Nationwide Crackdown on Impaired Driving During Holidays
12/15/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Gretchen McKenzie
ODOT Impaired Driving Program Manager
Office: (503) 986-4183
 
Shelley M. Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Office: (503) 986-3438

Links valid for 30 days:
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2009-12/1002/holiday_hosp.jpg
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2009-12/1002/holiday_snowman.jpg
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2009-12/1002/President_Obama_Proclamation_2009.pdf
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2009-12/1002/TalkingPoints_enf.doc
 
(NOTE: Questions regarding local efforts should be directed to your local OSP and area agencies)
 
Law enforcement leaders in Oregon announced today they will be joining with thousands of other law enforcement and highway agencies across the nation during the upcoming national crackdown on impaired driving, December 16 to January 3, 2010.
 
Drunk driving is one of America's deadliest crimes. In 2008, 11,773 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The picture for women is particularly concerning. Twenty-one percent of the 5,473 female drivers killed in crashes in 2008 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.
 
In the past decade in Oregon, more than 2,000 individuals were killed and over 26,000 people were injured by drinking and drugged drivers.
 
"By working together toward a common goal of reducing the incidents of drinking and drugged driving, we will enjoy a safer roadway system," Governor Ted Kulongoski wrote in proclaiming December as Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness month.
 
"Our message is simple so there should be no excuses or exceptions: if you drive impaired you will be arrested," said Oregon State Police (OSP) Superintendent Timothy McLain.
 
Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. is the name of the national crackdown on impaired driving. It is a deterrence program organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
 
"Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Yet we continue to see far too many people suffer debilitating injuries and loss of their loved ones as a result of someone else's poor decision to drive while impaired. This careless disregard for human life must stop," said Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson, President of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA).
 
"Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant," said City of The Dalles Police Chief Jay Waterbury, who is also President of the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). "Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses. So don't take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you are under arrest."
 
Three important enforcement periods fall within the 19 day crackdown period:
  • "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" (12:01 a.m., Friday, December 18th, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 20th). a public awareness effort conducted since 1991 the weekend preceding Christmas.
  • Christmas Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 23rd, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 27th). During last years 102-hour Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in 6 separate Oregon traffic crashes. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics, during the last ten years over this holiday period an average of 4 traffic deaths have occurred. OSP troopers arrested 50 DUII drivers over the 2008 holiday period.
  • New Year's Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 30th, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 3rd, 2010). During last year's 102-hour New Year's holiday period, seven people were killed in 5 separate Oregon traffic crashes. According to FARS statistics, during the last ten years over this holiday period an average of more than 5 traffic deaths have occurred. OSP troopers reported more than 50 DUII arrests over last year's New Year's holiday period.
 
OSP, OSSA, OACP 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.

 
While traveling this holiday season, and every day of the year, look for emergency responders working along our roads. Remember Oregon's "Move Over Law" has an important change effective January 1, 2010 that adds roadside assistance vehicles and tow vehicles to the list requiring motorists to "maintain a safe distance". Motorists will be required to:
  • Make a lane change to a lane not adjacent to that of an emergency vehicle, roadside assistance vehicle, tow vehicle or ambulance; or
  • Reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a speed that is at least 5 miles per hour under the posted speed limit, if making a lane change is unsafe.
 
In addition to travel challenges faced with impaired drivers on our roads, travelers will also need to pay attention for unexpected changes with winter-related road conditions. The "Oregon Winter Driving Guide", developed by the Governor's Transportation/Tourism Task Force, is a helpful resource for motorists with 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 more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.
 
Accompanying attachments:
1) NHTSA Speaking Points
2) President Obama's Proclamation