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Efforts Continuing to Keep Impaired Drivers From Wrecking the Holidays
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Following up on last weekend's statewide enforcement efforts to crack down on impaired drivers, Oregon law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the upcoming Christmas Holiday period. Overtime grant funding will be used by several Oregon law enforcement agencies to increase officer roadway presence and help step up DUII detection and enforcement.
During "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" (Friday, December 17, through Sunday, December 19), two people died in two separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads. Organized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, law enforcement agencies in Oregon and around the country combined forces to apprehend drunk and drugged drivers, and other traffic violators, on problem area highways and local streets.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers reported 45 DUII arrests during the three day lifesaver weekend. Nearly 3/4 of the arrests were on Saturday and Sunday. OSP offices reporting 3 or more DUII arrests were:
  • Bend Area Command – 7 DUII arrests
  • Central Point Area Command – 5 DUII arrests
  • Portland Area Command – 4 DUII arrests
  • Tualatin Work Site – 4 DUII arrests
  • Springfield Area Command – 4 DUII arrests
  • Coos Bay Area Command – 4 DUII arrests
  • Newport Area Command – 3 DUII arrests
The 2010 Christmas Holiday period starts Thursday, December 23, at 6:00 p.m. and concludes 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 26. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, six people were killed in 6 separate Oregon traffic crashes during last year's 102-hour holiday reporting period.
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 people have been killed and over 26,000 injured by a drinking or drugged driver.

Recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows an increase in the level of drug involvement among fatally injured drivers over a five-year period from 2005 to 2009. About 1 in 5 drivers who were killed last year in car crashes tested positive for drugs.
ODOT officials, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's 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 aware of traffic safety corridors and highway work zones. Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1. Even when workers are not present, all work zone speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert.
In addition to travel challenges posed by impaired and other dangerous drivers, travelers need to pay attention for unexpected winter-related road condition changes. ODOT's travel and road conditions website, www.TripCheck.com, contains up-to-date incident information, weather reports, alerts and other valuable "know before you go" information.
Report impaired drivers by calling Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or dialing 9-1-1.

Media note: Ride-along requests should be directed to your local OSP office, county sheriff's department, or police agency.