OSP reports two fatalities during Thanksgiving holiday

Preliminary information indicates two people died in Oregon in fatal traffic crashes during the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday reporting period between 6 p.m. Nov. 27 and 11:59 p.m. Dec. 1.

Oregon State Police troopers partnered with Washington State Patrol and California Highway Patrol over the holiday period during an enhanced joint traffic safety effort called the “I-5 Challenge” to promote driving safety and prevent fatal crashes on Interstate 5. Neither fatal crash in Oregon occurred on I-5.

Last year, two people died in two separate fatal traffic crashes in Oregon during the holiday period. Three people died during each of the 2011 and 2010 Thanksgiving holiday reporting periods.

OSP troopers responded to more than 120 traffic crashes, of which seven involved a DUII driver. Approximately a quarter of the reported crashes occurred on I-5 (29 non-injury crashes; five injury crashes).

OSP troopers reported 50 DUII arrests, slightly up from 47 DUII arrests reported last year. Twelve of the OSP DUII arrests occurred on I-5.

The HRPD blitz was in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This will be the first of several high-visibility enforcement efforts throughout the year. There will be a higher number of police officers on patrol during these enforcement periods.

According to Hood River Police Chief Neal Holste, most people are aware of the .08 blood alcohol content limit. A person may still be impaired under a .08 BAC. You can also be charged with a DUII if you are under the influence of a controlled substance, inhalant or prescription medications.

It is the duty of the law enforcement officer to determine if a person if too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. The offense of driving under the influence of intoxicants (ORS 813.010) is a class A misdemeanor. This offense can be punishable by jail time, fines and the suspension of your driver’s license, ranging from 90 days to three years, depending on your driving record and past DUII offenses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided the following statistics:

In 2011, there were 9,878 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher — 31 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year.

A total of 3,371 people were killed in drunk driving crashes who were not the drunk driver; 1,612 were passengers in a drunk driver’s vehicle, many of them too young to drive, including 91 children under the age of 15 years old; 1,049 were motorists of other vehicles involved in a crash with a drunk driver; 710 were pedestrians or bicyclists; 6,507 were the drunk drivers themselves.

“The Hood River Police Department asks that people drive responsibly,” Holste said. “If you feel you have had too much to drink or are not in the right frame of mind, please request a ride from a sober party or call a taxi.”

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