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Start The New Year Off Down The Right Road - Designate a Sober Driver
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
OSP Acting Public Information Officer - December 30 and 31
Sergeant Pat Shortt
Oregon State Police - The Dalles
Office: (541) 296-9646 ext. 5312

State, county and city law enforcement agencies are ready for the third enhanced enforcement effort during the New Year's Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Thursday, December 30, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 2, 2011) to reduce crashes caused by impaired and other dangerous drivers. According to Oregon's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics, since 1986 approximately 43 percent of traffic fatalities during the New Year's Holiday period have been in alcohol-involved crashes.
There were no traffic fatalities in Oregon during last year's 102-hour New Year's holiday period; only the second time since 1970. According to FARS statistics, during the last ten years more than 5 traffic deaths occurred on average each year during the New Year's Holiday period. Since 1970, the highest number of fatalities for this holiday period happened twice, in 1998 and 1999, when 12 people died in Oregon traffic crashes.
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.
Alcohol-impaired drivers are not the only concern for law enforcement agencies. Drug impairment and involvement in fatal traffic crashes is reflected in recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, about 1 in 5 drivers who were killed in car crashes tested positive for drugs. Officers trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) are involved in the national "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit, Under Arrest." crackdown to help evaluate possible drug-impaired drivers.

Oregon law enforcement leaders urge all travelers to continue keeping the party off the road, fasten your safety restraints, and always have a designated sober driver to get you to your destination safely. Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police join ODOT officials in offering 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.
  • Volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • 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.
  • Walking or bicycling after dark? Wear bright clothes to help you stand out, and always look both ways before crossing, even at an intersection.
  • Be watchful when driving for pedestrians on or near the road.
  • Buckle up, every trip, every time.
  • Drive defensively at all times.
OSP and ODOT also urge drivers to not let their guard down and be aware of traffic safety corridors, highway work zones, and winter-related road condition changes. Even when workers are not present, all work zone speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones may have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert. 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 or city police department.