Friday, September 12, 2003
Three law enforcement agencies will be on high alert for traffic violators during a 10-day period that begins on Monday.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, City Police and Oregon State Patrol are putting extra manpower on the road from Sept. 15-28. Patrol officers will be enforcing seatbelt, speed and DUII laws as part of the Three Flags Campaign. The local agencies have received federal grant dollars to enact the program along with their law enforcement peers throughout Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
“We want to make people more aware of the laws that save lives,” said Deputy Pete Hughes, one of the local organizers.
He said each time a “blitz” occurs there is a noticeable difference in the number of motorists who become more watchful about their actions. For example, Hughes said state statistics show that Oregon’s crash fatality and injury rates have dropped 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively, since passage of the adult seatbelt law in 1989.
The law, coupled with active enforcement, is credited for Oregon’s current ranking as one of the top five belt-use states in the United States, compared with a 73 percent national average.
Hughes said not only will police be watchful that people are wearing seatbelts, but that they are wearing them correctly. Hughes said many drivers and passengers put the shoulder strap behind their back but that will not prevent injury during an accident.
To provide proper protection, Hughes said the restraint needs to be positioned across the front side of the rider’s body.