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Safety Focus

"Spring Forward" and Plan Ahead - for safe travels

This weekend, Oregonians will spring forward by setting clocks ahead one hour (officially at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10), and safety advocates want to remind travelers that any change to sleeping patterns can result in drowsy driving - and that can be fatal for anyone out using the transportation system, whether in a car, on foot, riding or rolling.
Drowsy driving can be deadly just like driving impaired. From 2013 - 2017 in Oregon, 58 people died in crashes involving a drowsy driver - and officials believe the real number is likely higher. Unlike drunk driving, driving drowsy is not a behavior people readily recognize as wrong.
Around one-third of American drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, and more than half (60 percent) said they have driven while drowsy, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. But like impaired driving, the consequences of drowsy driving can be tragic. And like impaired driving, it's preventable. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for tips on avoiding drowsy driving, how to recognize it, and what to do... before it's too late.

Winter Travel Tips

The weather in Oregon can change quickly and with winter now upon us, it is important to be prepared before you head out on the roads. The Oregon Department of Transportation has put together a useful Winter Travel Tips webpage that covers everything you need to know about road conditions, winter travel options, chains and traction devices and much more. If you are driving, riding or walking you will find the answers to pretty much all your winter travel questions in this one-stop resource. 

Penalties for distracted driving add up

 distracted driving adDistracted driving is already exacting a high price – with fatalities and serious injuries occurring regularly in crashes where a driver is distracted – and now the cost for the driver may go even higher.

Offenses under the state’s distracted driving law began counting toward elevated sanctions on July 1. Here’s how the penalties can add up:

• First offense, not contributing to a crash: Class B violation, with a fine up to $1,000.

• Second offense, or first offense, if it contributed to a crash: Class A violation, with a fine up to $2,500.

• Third offense in ten years: Class B misdemeanor, with a fine up to $2,500 and potential for 6 months in jail.

Not being fully focused on the complex task of driving can have disastrous results. From 2012-2016 in Oregon, there were 10,814 crashes involving a distracted driver, resulting in 70 fatalities and 16,503 injuries.

This year, in unofficial numbers, Oregon has had 172 fatalities, up 17.8% from the same time last year. While we don’t yet know the factors that contributed to these crashes, anecdotal information indicates many of these involved vehicles traveling out of their lane – and that can be the result of drivers being distracted.

For more information about distracted driving, please read the full ODOT news release and visit the following webpages. 

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