Police crack down on drunk drivers for the holidays

The News-Review

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In the past decade, more than 2,000 people were killed and more than 26,000 people were injured by drinking and drugged drivers in Oregon.

That's one of many sobering statistics that has prompted local law enforcement agencies to join with thousands of other law enforcement and highway agencies across the nation in a national crackdown on impaired driving, now through Jan. 3, according to a news release.

The first of three special enforcement periods kicked off at 12:01 a.m. today.

“Our message is simple so there should be no excuses or exceptions: if you drive impaired you will be arrested,” Oregon State Police Superintendent Timothy McLain reported.

“Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest,” is the name of the national crackdown on impaired driving campaign. It is a deterrence program organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

“Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk,” said city of The Dalles Police Chief Jay Waterbury, who is also president of the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant.”

The following three important enforcement periods fall within the 19-day crackdown period:

• National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend, from today through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, is a public awareness effort that has been conducted the weekend preceding Christmas since 1991.

• The Christmas holiday period runs from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 27. During last year's Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in six separate Oregon traffic crashes. OSP troopers arrested 50 allegedly impaired drivers over the 2008 holiday period.

• The New Year's holiday period runs from 6 p.m. Dec. 30 through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 3. During last year's New Year's holiday period, seven people were killed in five separate Oregon traffic crashes. OSP troopers arrested more than 50 allegedly impaired drivers over last year's New Year's holiday period.