If drunk driving was eliminated, more than 10,000 lives would be spared each year, the Bend Police Department said Thursday, joining other Central Oregon police agencies in the fight against impaired driving by participating in a four-day High Visibility Enforcement campaign dedicated to DUII enforcement.

Local agencies participating in the increased traffic enforcement Aug. 30-Sept. 2 include the Bend Police Department, Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Prineville Police Department, and Redmond Police Department.

Participating agencies will provide regular and overtime enforcement to reduce the number of drugs/alcohol related traffic incidents.

The Labor Day holiday has become one of the most dangerous holiday periods for driving:

--Over the Labor Day weekend in 2012, one person was killed every 34 minutes, on average, in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash.
-- The same weekend, 390 people lost their lives in traffic crashes. A staggering 25% of those involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – almost double the legal limit.
-- Among drivers killed in traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2012, about 41% of them were impaired.

We strongly encourage all citizens to drink responsibly and plan ahead on a safe way to return home. Walking or biking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Please designate a sober driver, take a taxi, call a friend or family member, or use public transportation.

For more information, visit the High-Visibility Enforcement Campaign Headquarters at www.nhtsa.gov/StopImpairedDriving. This HVE enforcement is funded by overtime funds through the Oregon Department of Transportation. For additional information, please contact Lieutenant Nick Parker at the Bend Police Department at (541) 322-2978.