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Five Die on Oregon Roads During "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend"; Troopers Arrest 50 DUII Drivers
12/21/2009
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

Five people were killed in 5 separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads during the first of three special enforcement periods for the approaching upcoming major holidays. Law enforcement agencies nationwide are participating together in a nationwide crackdown on impaired driving starting last weekend during the "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend", December 18 – 20.

 
"National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" is a public awareness effort conducted since 1991 on the weekend preceding Christmas. In the past decade in Oregon, more than 2,000 individuals were killed and over 26,000 people injured by drinking and drugged drivers. Nationally 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.

 
Preliminary information provided by ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicates five people died on Oregon roads during the 72-hour period. Three fatalities happened on Friday, December 18th, and two others on Saturday, December 19th. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers investigated 3 fatal crashes and the other two were investigated by Newberg and North Bend police.
 
During last year's "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend", December 19 – 21, three people died in 3 separate Oregon traffic crashes. All three fatal crashes happened December 20th.
 
OSP troopers arrested 50 DUII drivers (Friday – 12 arrests, Saturday – 26 arrests, and Sunday – 11 arrests). OSP offices reporting 3 or more DUII arrests were:
  • Portland Area Command – 8 (Five DUII arrests by Tualatin worksite troopers)
  • Pendleton Area Command - 5
  • Bend Area Command – 4
  • Springfield Area Command – 4
  • Salem Area Command – 3
  • Astoria Area Command – 3
  • Central Point Area Command – 3
  • Roseburg Area Command - 3
 
Arrest statistics for county and city agencies were not available. Any questions related to their statistics should be directed to those respective agencies.
 
State, county and city law enforcement agencies are planning enhanced enforcement efforts during the next two holiday periods:
  • 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 alert and defensively at all times.
  • Report any suspected impaired driving by calling 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or 9-1-1.