As Oregonians and Washingtonians prepared to get away for the holiday weekend a serious drunk driving accident in Veneta, in Lane County west of Eugene, highlighted some of the potential dangers that always accompany Labor Day Weekend.
According to Roseburg TV station KPIC, “a wildland firefighter with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit crashed her small car into a pickup stopped in a highway construction zone… on highway 126 West.” According to the station the car’s driver was the only person injured in the Oregon DUII accident despite the fact that she hit a car with such force that it set off a chain reaction, leading to a total of four vehicles being involved in the crash. The accident took place at 2am in an area where construction was taking place, and also endangered a flagger who was working on the road, the station reports.
Incidents like this are a reminder of the importance of safe driving, especially on this holiday weekend. According to KPIC the driver who allegedly caused the Eugene-area accident had recently finished a lengthy firefighting shift. Such admirable work, however, cannot excuse driving with double the legal limit of alcohol in one’s bloodstream.
As the links below detail, DUII is a serious offense, but it can also have ramifications beyond the person actually driving the car. Under Oregon’s dram shop laws a social host has a legal obligation similar to a bartender, or a store clerk not to sell or serve alcohol to someone who appears to be intoxicated. As the aftermath of this accident unfolds, it will be important to look at whether the manner in which the driver became drunk increases the number of people legally responsible for this accident.
As I have documented several times over the years, the summer holiday weekends are a particularly dangerous time to be on our state’s roads. Less treacherous, perhaps, than New Year’s Eve, but still a time when too many people celebrate too enthusiastically right before they get behind the wheel. Admonitions like this one – to take care and to avoid drinking and driving – can come to feel automatic, but as the details of this accident remind us, they remain sadly necessary.
As a Portland attorney dedicated to helping the victims of drunk driving obtain the justice they deserve, I urge everyone to take care this weekend. Obviously, one should never drink and drive, but it is important for the rest of us to remain vigilant whenever we are on the road (whether as drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians) at times like these when irresponsible drivers rise in number.
ORS 813.010: Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants
ORS 811.140: Reckless Driving