June 4, 2005
Sobering statistics came this week from Oregon State Police:
A sharp rise was reported in traffic citations for the year, and for the Memorial Day holiday, May 27 through May 30, when at least eight people died on Oregon highways.
OSP reports that for Memorial Day 2005, there were 81 DUII arrests, compared to 57 for the same span in 2004.
Speed-related citations also went up considerably:
People driving over the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit were cited 637 times, compared to 578 in 2004.
Drivers caught violating the 65-mph limit totaled 693 this year — about 20 percent more than the 558 citations for the the same weekend in 2004.
Research paints a frightening picture of the havoc wreaked by impaired drivers. According to Oregon Department of Transportation and the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency, for every 140 miles driven in Oregon in 2000, somebody with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 was at the wheel of a vehicle.
Does that mean that if you go to The Dalles, a distance of 20 miles and pass seven cars, that one of those cars will be driven by someone who is under the influence? Not necessarily. Statistically, the numbers might reflect heightened patrols and increased monitoring skills by our public servants. In terms of driving circumstances themselves, factors such as fatigue, speed, driver distraction, traffic volume, weather and other factors come into effect regarding traffic accidents.
But certain facts remain: statewide, police reported that 838 crashes involved a driver or pedestrian with a BAC of .01 or more (.08 is the legal limit in Oregon).
As you go mobile this summer, and all year around, consider all the factors that go into the inherent hazard of traveling by automobile, and employ caution at all times.
Be careful out there.