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Don't Risk It This Holiday Season - Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 881-5362

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If you are going over the mountains, through the woods or along our freeways during the upcoming Christmas Holiday weekend, Oregon's law enforcement agencies and transportation safety advocates wish that everyone remembers "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over". The Christmas Holiday weekend follows last weekend's "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" when Oregon State Police troopers reported an increase in DUII arrests compared to last year's holiday lifesaver weekend.
Oregon law enforcement agencies are ready to keep the pressure on by increasing officer roadway presence and stepping up DUII detection and enforcement in support of Governor Kitzhaber's proclamation of December as "3D Month". Multiple law enforcement agencies and traffic safety advocates have been working throughout the month to raise personal awareness and reduce drugged and drunken driving during the holidays and into the New Year.
"The message is simple, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Drinking alcohol and driving do not mix. If you are going to drink, don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle," said Oregon State Police Captain Mike Dingeman, director of the Patrol Services Division.
The 2011 Christmas Holiday period starts 6:00 p.m. Friday, December 23, and concludes 11:59 p.m., Monday, December 26. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, two people died in 2 separate Oregon traffic crashes during last year's 78-hour holiday reporting period. Over the last decade there has been an average of four traffic fatalities in Oregon over the Christmas Holiday period.
Several Oregon law enforcement agencies will be using DUII overtime grant funds provided through ODOT to put extra patrols on area roads and increase the potential to find and arrest impaired drivers. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers reported 50 DUII arrests during last weekend's three day "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend", a 10% increase over last year's lifesaver weekend. Eighty percent of the arrests were on Saturday and Sunday.
ODOT Safety Division Administrator Troy E. Costales noted too many drivers on Oregon's roads unfortunately still think they are invincible, choosing to jeopardize their safety and the safety of others.
"Not only do you risk killing or injuring yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant," said Costales.
Nationally, during the month of December 2009, 753 people were killed in crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher. During the past decade in Oregon, more than 2,000 individuals have been killed and over 10,000 people injured by a drinking or drugged driver.
ODOT officials, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriffs' Association, and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police offer these safety tips:
  • If you are planning to drink, plan ahead: designate a sober driver or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a set time.
  • If you are hosting a party, offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and help your guests be responsible. Don't let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel.
  • Volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • Walking or bicycling after dark? Wear bright clothes to help you stand out, and always look both ways before crossing, even at an intersection.
  • Buckle up, every trip, every time.
  • Drive defensively at all times.
  • Be rested, alert, slow down and "know before you go" by staying up to date on road and weather conditions by visiting www.TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1.
Report impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 or Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).
Media note: Ride-along requests should be directed to your local OSP office, county sheriff's office, or police department.