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Jul-06-2009 12:03printcomments

Oregon Sees Fewest Independence Day Highway Deaths Since 1970

Preliminary Post-Fourth of July Holiday weekend statistics show second fewest number of traffic fatalities in almost 40 years.

Fatal Oregon crash, 7-4-06
Fatal crash covered by Salem-News on July 4th, 2006.
Photo: Oregon State Police

(SALEM, Ore.) - Preliminary statistics reported this morning by ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting Unit, known as "FARS", following the 54-hour Fourth of July holiday reporting period reflects the second fewest number of traffic fatalities in Oregon during this holiday period since 1970.

FARS statistics reflects the Fourth of July holiday period as the deadliest major holiday weekend of the year in Oregon. Between 6:00 p.m., Friday, July 3rd, and 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5th, one person died on Oregon roadways in a fatal traffic crash. FARS statistics show since 1970 that there was one previous holiday weekend in 1979 when there were no traffic fatalities, and in 2001 there was only one traffic fatality.

Both of those holiday weekends were shorter 30-hour reporting periods. Last year there six traffic fatalities during a 78-hour holiday weekend reporting period.

Based on confirmed information reported during the holiday period to FARS, the lone fatality was investigated by Oregon State Police (OSP) Saturday, July 4th at 7:52 p.m. (Mountain Time) on Interstate 84 near milepost 356.

A 57-year old Baker City man died after his motorcycle traveled off the eastbound shoulder and struck a fog marker.

The Fourth of July holiday weekend also wrapped up a national enforcement effort involving several Oregon law enforcement agencies that started June 21st targeting intoxicated drivers.

OSP troopers reported arresting 76 DUII drivers over this year's holiday weekend period. During last year's 78-hour period OSP troopers reported 94 DUII arrests. Arrest figures provided by OSP dispatch centers show the following OSP offices reporting the highest number of DUII arrests was:

* OSP Portland Area Command - 12 DUII arrests
* Central Point Area Command - 10 DUII arrests
* OSP Bend Area Command - 9 DUII arrests
* Four OSP offices (Springfield, McMinnville, Newport, and Roseburg) reported 6 DUII arrests at there area command locations OSP troopers responded to about thirty percent fewer traffic crashes on major state highways and freeways over the holiday period. Troopers also issued over 1,000 speed-related citations and assisted more than 480 disabled motorists. Tactical planning by OSP offices were supported by a "Problem Oriented Policing" approach using past historical data to zero in on known problem highway areas and time periods. The planning helped put troopers on patrol area highways with the goal to reduce the number of traffic crashes where they were most frequently occurring during past Fourth of July holiday periods.

Source: Oregon State Police

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