SALEM, Ore. - Oregon State Police, the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police urge everyone to support efforts to apprehend drunk and drugged drivers this weekend through the Christmas holiday while also remembering those affected by an impaired driver whenever you see headlights on vehicles during daytime hours Friday.
Every year since 1991 on the weekend preceding Christmas, the International Association of Chiefs of Police have organized "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend," an effort to heighten public awareness and increase the apprehension of drunk and drugged drivers.
Motorists are asked to turn on their headlights Friday, December 21, for "National Lights on for Life" day, in remembrance of those who have been affected by an impaired driver.
To help save lives on our roadways this holiday season, OSP and local law enforcement partners have been involved in a special "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" crackdown to stop impaired drivers beginning December 12, 2012, through January 1, 2013. Starting at 12:01 a.m., Friday, December 21, through 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, December 25, police officers nationwide and in Oregon will be stepping up these enforcement efforts for "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" through the Christmas holiday period.
Last year in Oregon during the Christmas holiday 78-hour reporting period two people died in 2 separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads. OSP troopers reported 50 DUII arrests during last year's "National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend" and 28 DUII arrests during the Christmas holiday period. More than half of last year's DUII arrests by OSP troopers during the Christmas holiday reporting period occurred Christmas Eve, December 24.
"No one ever thinks that their holiday celebration will be anything but joyous," said OSP Captain Ted Phillips, Patrol Services Division director. "But for those who include alcohol with their celebrations and extend it onto the road behind the wheel of a vehicle, their joy tragically could change to sorrow for them and their loved ones."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this year's holiday enforcement crackdown is being supported by more than $7 million in national TV and radio advertising featuring the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The ads, which first premiered last summer, feature "invisible" law enforcement officers observing alcohol-impaired individuals and then apprehending them when they attempt to drive their vehicles. The ads are designed to raise awareness and support law enforcement activities in every state in an effort to reduce drunk driving deaths.
OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT offer these simple but important safety tips:
* Plan ahead. If you are planning to drink, plan ahead: volunteer to be a designated driver, designate a sober driver or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a set time.
* Be responsible. 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.
* Buckle up, every trip, every time.
* Drive defensively at all times.
Report impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 or OSP at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).
OSP and ODOT also urge travelers to "Know Before You Go", monitoring media reports for weather forecasts and keeping up-to-date on road conditions at www.TripCheck.com. In addition to road and weather conditions, winter driving safety information and tips are also there to help keep you informed and safe on our roads.