Deadliest holiday weekend ahead for alcohol-involved tragedies
SALEM – Over the past five years in Oregon, 38 people have died in crashes over the 4th of July holiday – and 23 of those deaths were from crashes involving alcohol. It’s a tragic way to mark the country’s independence, and perhaps the saddest part is that it doesn’t have to happen. If you get behind the wheel of a car when you are impaired – whether by alcohol, marijuana, prescriptions or illegal drugs – you are making a choice that could end someone’s life, including your own. Don’t do it. Instead, consider these tips from safety advocates:
- Get a ride. One option is to download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices; Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- Hosting a party? Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Remove the alcoholic beverages several hours before the gathering end-time.
- If someone has been drinking and is about to drive, take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
A crash is no accident. Make a smart choice and celebrate safely.
The Heat is On
Now is the time to prepare for the high temperatures that kill hundreds of people every year. Extreme heat causes more than 600 deaths each year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people still die from extreme heat every year. Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off.
IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:
- Find air conditioning.
- Avoid strenuous activities.
- Watch for heat illness.
- Wear light clothing.
- Check on family members and neighbors.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
For more information visit the following web resources listed below:
American Red Cross
Centers for Disease Control
Heat Related Deaths are Preventable Infographic - Viewable Full Size
National Safety Council
National Weather Service
Penalties for distracted driving add up
Distracted 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.