As part of its push to keep motorists and pedestrians safe over the holiday season, the Oregon State Police is increasing its DUI enforcement efforts. Their actions are part of a 20-day national crackdown on drunk drivers and runs from December 13 though the New Year. State and local police will also be on high alert for Oregon DUI drivers beginning 6pm on Christmas Eve through Sunday at midnight.
Oregon Governor Kulongoski, who declared December “Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness” month, has reminded drivers that driving with a buzz is driving while impaired—a leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities in the state. Last year, 18 people died in Oregon drunk driving accidents over the holiday season.
Meantime, a recent national study confirms that the number of fatalities due to drunk drivers increases around Christmas and New Year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that from 2002 – 2006, alcohol was a factor in 4 out of 10 motor vehicle deaths that occurred during the last two weeks of December. Also, drivers 21 – 24 years of age are more likely to be involved in a deadly alcohol-related motor vehicle accident than other motorists.
The Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Division’s Impaired Driving Program Manager Gretchen McKenzie has a number of suggestions for how drivers can keep themselves and others safe this holiday season:
• Don’t drive if you’ve had anything to drink.
• Make sure that there is a designated driver.
• Don’t let anyone who has been drinking get behind the wheel of the car.
• Consider taxis, public transportation, or a car service as alternative modes of transportation.
• Make sure you and your passengers are wearing seat belts.
• Call 911 if you see a drunk driver on the road.
Of course, it is important that motorists drive sober throughout the year. Last year, the NHTSA says 12,998 people died in alcohol-impaired auto crashes in the US.
Anyone who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs is breaking the law and may be charged for Oregon DUI crimes. Victims injured by a DUI driver may also have grounds to file an Oregon personal injury claim for damages.
Governor proclaims December “Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness” month, Oregon.gov, December 1, 2008
State police beef up drunk-driver patrols, The Register-Guard, December 23, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Alcohol Impaired Driving 2007 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)
DUI Laws in Oregon, United States DUI Laws, DUI Driving Laws
To speak with an experienced Oregon car accident lawyer, contact the Portland personal injury law firm of Matthew D Kaplan, Attorney at Law.