Oregon and Washington Drunk Driving Arrests and Deaths From the 2011 Holiday Season

Posted On: January 7, 2012 by Matthew D. Kaplan

With the holidays now behind us this is a good moment to pause to examine the Oregon drunk driving and Washington drunk driving statistics reported over the Christmas and New Year’s weekends. DUII/DUI crash and arrest numbers are always a sad reminder of the importance of not overindulging when one goes out to celebrate, and of the crucial role our courts play in ensuring personal accountability.

According to radio station KBND, the Oregon State Police reported “one death and 28 DUII arrests on Oregon’s roads and highways.” The comparable figures for the New Year’s period on Oregon roads were 53 arrests and two crashes resulting in three fatalities, according to a report published in The Oregonian. To our north, in Washington, troopers “arrested 161 drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs or alcohol during the Christmas holiday weekend,” according to the Tri-City Herald.

In both states the Christmas figures represent notable decreases compared with the comparable period a year earlier. The Oregon New Year’s figures, however, were up by approximately 25% over the previous year and show a 55% increase compared to two years ago.

The connection between drunk driving and holiday weekends (especially New Year’s Eve) is as unfortunate as it is predictable and seems to endure despite decades of public service campaigns designed to raise awareness and stigmatize the practice.

After the holidays are over it is an equally unfortunate fact of life that our courts often must become involved, as reckless drivers are held to account for their actions and victims seek to obtain justice, often with the assistance of a Washington or Oregon drunk driving victims’ attorney. In addition to the personal responsibility drivers must take for their actions it is also important to consider Oregon’s dram shop laws, under which those who sell alcohol to people who clearly ought not to be drinking can also be held accountable for the consequences of their actions. It would be better if none of us ever had to consider situations like these, but granted that we all must, it is reassuring to know that attorneys and our courts are here to see that justice is served.


Tri-City Herald: Washington State Patrol arrests 161 across state for DUI during holiday

KBND.com: 1 death on Oregon roads over holiday

The Oregonian: Oregon State Police report 47 intoxicated driving arrests over New Year’s holiday