Safe Travels: Keep drunk drivers off the roads

We all want our “comfort and joy” to extend to our highways.

But ‘tis the season, historically, for dangerous behavior on our roads, by way of inebriated drivers.

Last year in Oregon during the Christmas holiday 78-hour reporting period two people died in two separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads. OSP troopers reported 50 DUII arrests during last year’s “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend” and 28 DUII arrests during the Christmas holiday period. More than half of last year’s DUII arrests by OSP troopers during the Christmas holiday reporting period occurred Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Happily, the authorities are on the lookout for this misplaced holiday-cheer-behind-the-wheel.

For those who include alcohol with their celebrations and extend it onto the road behind the wheel of a vehicle, their joy tragically could change to sorrow for them and their loved ones.

Every year since 1991 on the weekend preceding Christmas, the International Association of Chiefs of Police have organized “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend,” an effort to heighten public awareness and increase the apprehension of drunk and drugged drivers. Agencies involved include Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police.

Motorists are asked to turn on their headlights Friday, Dec. 21, for “National Lights on for Life” day, in remembrance of those who have been affected by an impaired driver.

To help save lives on our roadways this holiday season, OSP and local law enforcement partners have been involved in a special “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown to stop impaired drivers beginning Dec. 12 and ending Jan. 1

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25, police officers nationwide and in Oregon will be stepping up these enforcement efforts for “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend” through the Christmas holiday period.

OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT offer these simple but important safety tips:

n Plan ahead: If you are planning to drink, volunteer to be a designated driver, designate a sober driver or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a set time.

n Be responsible. If you are hosting a party, offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and help your guests be responsible. Don’t let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel.

n Walking or bicycling after dark? Wear bright clothes to help you stand out.

n Buckle up, every trip, every time.

n Drive defensively at all times.

Report impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 or OSP at

1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).

Flags Lowered

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Tuesday ordered all flags at public institutions throughout Oregon be flown at half-staff until date of interment in honor of Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate.

The full presidential proclamation is available at:

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