In keeping with the "Click It or Ticket" mobilization running May 20 - June 2, Oregon State Police, county sheriffs and local police agencies urge local and long-distance travelers to be aware of the increased enforcement efforts during the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.
Starting 6:00 p.m., Friday, May 24, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 27, OSP troopers working with law enforcement partners will focus enforcement efforts at encouraging vehicle occupants to buckle up, keeping impaired drivers off the road, and deterring distracted and dangerous driving behavior that affect everyone's safety.
"OSP troopers are committed to these important interagency mobilization efforts, day and night, to keep our highway users safe and roads open for travel," said OSP Captain Ted Phillips, Patrol Services Division director.
During the 2012 Memorial Day holiday period, ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System reported three people, all "vulnerable highway users," died in three separate traffic crashes in Oregon. Last year's victims were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, and a motorcycle operator.
Since 1970, more than 260 people died after being involved in crashes during the holiday period that kicks off the summer travel season. More than half occurred in alcohol-involved crashes.
Prior to the start of the current annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign, ODOT noted in Oregon that 61 vehicle occupants who died in crashes in 2012 were completely unbelted. The majority of those - 49 - were occupants in pickups, and two-thirds of the unbuckled fatalities occurred in nighttime crashes.
During the previous six Memorial Day holiday weekends, OSP troopers arrested over 470 DUII drivers, including 64 DUII drivers arrested during last year's 78-hour period. Troopers' stepped up enforcement effort supports Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) and the work of other law enforcement agencies in Oregon and around the country to discourage the most common causes of injury crashes - speeding and impaired drivers.
An example of one of OSP's planned efforts will occur in Central Oregon where, using overtime grant funding, troopers will focus on speed, safety restraint and DUII enforcement on Highway 97, Highway 20 and Highway 26.
Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA), Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), and ODOT offer the following safety reminders:
* Get rested before you are tested. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Be patient and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
* Pay attention. An inattentive driver is a growing safety concern on our roads and an increasing factor in traffic crashes.
* Know before you go: Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1.
* Even when workers are not present, all work zone speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert.
* Share the road. Don't tailgate and be sure to check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
* Be on the lookout for bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of our roads.
* Always use safety restraints and child safety seats correctly (see www.childsafetyseat.org for free safety seat clinics and proper buckling tips).
* Don't drink and drive; don't be impaired and drive. These can be deadly combinations.
* MOVE OVER if you are approaching any type of emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle which is stopped on the roadside with emergency lights activated.
OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT remind every traveling person - bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists alike - that we all have individual responsibility for keeping our roads safe. Immediately report aggressive, dangerous and intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or call OSP at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).
Oregon law requires the following:
* A child weighing less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a child safety seat.
* A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a child seat, rear facing.
* A child over forty pounds or who has reached the upper weight limit of their forward-facing car seat must be restrained in a booster seat until they reach age eight or 4'9" in height and the adult safety belt system fits them correctly.
"Best Practice Recommendations" of the American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. DOT suggest that children ride in rear-facing seats to age two or the upper weight limit of the seat in use. Children should continue to ride in safety seats to forty pounds or the upper weight limit of their safety seat before transitioning to a booster seat. Children under thirteen should ride in the back seat.