Monday, November 22, 2010


Posted: November 18th, 2010 11:04 AM
Photo/sound file:

With the holidays upon us, thousands of Oregonians will take to the roads to spend time with family and friends. Oregon State Police (OSP) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) remind travelers to be prepared for winter road conditions, buckle up and drive alert so everyone can arrive safely at their destinations. Police officers throughout Oregon and around the country will be busy sending the message to "Click It or Ticket" to save lives and prevent injuries on our roads.

"No one wants to start the holidays off down the wrong road by causing a collision or getting a ticket," said Captain Mike Dingeman, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division. "Save a life and save your money. Drive carefully, alert and sober, and buckle up every time on the road, day or night."

The longest holiday period of the year, the Thanksgiving holiday period covers 102 hours starting Wednesday, November 24, at 6:00 p.m., and running through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, November 28. Oregon is joining traffic enforcement efforts nationwide to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths on Oregon roads during the holiday period's special "Click It or Ticket" enforcement mobilization.

Some of the special enforcement efforts planned during the holiday period include:

* OSP, Malheur County Sheriff's Office, Idaho State Police, and Nevada Highway Patrol will target major routes, including Highway 95 between Interstate 84 and Interstate 80, on November 26 and 27 for expected increased traffic traveling to and from the Friday night Boise State / Nevada football game. (Media contacts listed at end of this news release)
* OSP troopers from the Coos Bay Area Command office will focus enforcement efforts on Highway 38 and Highway 42 for increased traffic traveling to and from the southern Oregon coast.
* OSP, Klamath County Sheriff's Office, Klamath Falls Police Department, and the Klamath County DUII Task Force will be participating in a multi-agency DUII enforcement effort on Friday and Saturday nights.

During last year's Thanksgiving holiday period in Oregon, two people died in two separate traffic crashes. Since 1970, over 230 people have died on Oregon roads during this holiday period.

"Sadly, the holidays, which for many are the happiest time of the year, is also one of the deadliest and tragic," said Dingeman.

The 2008 Thanksgiving holiday was no different around the country as 1,120 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that more than half of those killed were not wearing safety belts at the time of the crash. According to ODOT, over half of Oregon's motor vehicle occupant fatalities were also not using safety belts at the time of their crashes.

While seat belt use is at a record high of 83 percent nationally and 97 percent in Oregon, millions of people nationwide still fail to buckle up when they get in a motor vehicle despite laws requiring belt use in forty-nine states. Oregon continues to be in the top three states nationally for highest rates of safety restraint usage and for child seat use for children under age four, but booster seat use among four to eight year olds is a paltry 62 percent.

"Parents seem unconvinced of the benefits of booster use over adult safety belts for young children," said Carla Levinski, ODOT's Occupant Protection Program Manager. She offered the following tests for determining if a child is ready to use an adult safety belt system instead of a booster:

* Can the child sit on the vehicle seat so his/her whole back is touching the seatback?
* Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
* Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
* Is the lap belt touching the tops of the legs?
* Can the child sit like this for the whole trip?

Levinski reminds adults that Oregon law requires seat belts to be used properly, meaning wearing both lap and shoulder belts as intended. "Even though your Thanksgiving dinner may tempt you to do otherwise, remember that an unbelted occupant surviving ejection during a crash is only one in four," she said.

OSP, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, and ODOT remind travelers to use (or call 5-1-1) for the latest road conditions, paying close attention to your travel routes while keeping up on unexpected weather / road conditions, and follow these important safety tips:

Getting Ready for the Trip

* Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.
* Stay informed about weather conditions, potential traffic hazards and highway closures.
* Check road conditions by visiting or calling 5-1-1
* Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving starting with good tires, a good battery, and a full tank of gas.
* Carry an emergency kit and chains or traction tires, especially if traveling over mountain passes.
* Snacks and bottled water also are a good idea for long trips, especially with children.
* Carry a map in case weather or road conditions force you to take a detour. Keep family members or friends aware of any significant changes in your planned route before you take the unplanned route.
* Get plenty of rest before you leave on any trip.
* Clear snow, ice or frost from windows and headlights before you leave.
* Make sure everyone is using safety restraints and secure any cargo.
* Always have a designated driver for any holiday activities that include alcohol.

On the Road:

* Drive according to conditions. If it's wet, icy, snowy or foggy, slow down and increase your following distance behind other vehicles to at least a four-second distance. Keep in mind that conditions may not be perfect to drive at the posted speed.
* Use headlights even in daylight to help other drivers see you.
* Don't use cruise control in wet, icy, snowy or foggy conditions.
* Be patient with all the other traffic on the highways.
* Watch out for pedestrians now that the days are shorter and darker, and remember they're often in dark clothing.
* If you get tired or drowsy, stop and rest during your trip or get a rested and sober licensed driver behind the wheel.
* There are still many construction zones on our highways, and even though work will be inactive over the holiday weekend there may be equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway. Stay alert and slow down because all work zone speed limits still apply and fines increase in these areas.
* Don't drink and drive or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

Report any possible intoxicated driver or dangerous driver to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.

Note to Media: Questions regarding local OSP patrol efforts and ride-along requests should be directed to your local OSP office.

More information, including links to Spanish versions of NHTSA's marketing materials, is available at:

Winter travel safety information and links on ODOT's and at:

Media contacts regarding the Highway 95 interagency patrol efforts mentioned above:
Oregon State Police - Sergeant Jason Reese (541-889-6469)
Idaho State Police - Sergeant Scott Dye (208-860-6286)
Nevada Highway Patrol - Trooper Chuck Allen (775-689-4680)
Malheur County Sheriff's Office - Sergeant Rich Harriman (541-473-5126)

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Contact Info: Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Oregon State Police
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Pager: (503) 323-3195

Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
Office: (503) 986-3438

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