Gresham County Increases Patrols
On Thanksgiving Day the Gresham Police Department announced that they would be increasing saturation patrols through the holidays for roadway safety. These saturation patrols will help deter drunk driving, and remove any drunk drivers from the roadways. The program began on November 21, and the officers have arrested 17 drivers since the beginning of the program. Three of those who were stopped were involved in a crash that resulted in no injuries. The goal of this campaign is to increase visibility of police authorities, and deter drivers from getting behind the wheel after they have indulged in some Holiday spirits.
During this campaign police officers will be roaming the streets, active seeking drivers who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is part of an annual effort to not only stop drunk drivers, but to also be on the lookout for other safety related problems like seatbelts and pedestrian safety. These extra patrols help ensure that families make it to grandma’s house for dinner. In 2013, between January 1st and December 13th, there was an increase in DUII arrests and that influenced the increase in patrols in Gresham County for 2014. According studies the Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday for drunk driving crashes, and now Thanksgiving is quickly edging out New Years for second place.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported that in 2012 there were 86 fatalities related to drunk driving in Oregon. That is 26 percent of all traffic related deaths in the state of Oregon. This number, while still too high, has been dramatically decreased since legislative measures in 2007 and 2011 that required ignition interlock devices for all drivers convicted of driving under the influence. These ignition interlock devices prevent a driver from starting the car if they have alcohol on their breath.
Across the country about 10,000 people lost their lives in alcohol related crashes each year. That equates to about 1 person every 51 minutes, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Thanks to ignition interlock laws this number is decreasing, but ignition interlock devices are not required in every state. Ignition interlock deivces require a breath sample from the driver before the car is start each time, and then it is required through out the drive. These devices have continued to show they are extremely effective in reducing the number of drunk driving incidents.
Gresham Police Department will continue to increase patrols throughout the holiday season to help combat any drunk driving in the county. These increased patrols will be funded by grants from Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Impact, these grants will help with the cost of overtime for the Gresham Police Department officers. If you are going out for a holiday party this season please be safe on your drive home. Either appoint a designated driver, or utilize a taxi service. We want to encourage all celebrators to be safe so they can arrive alive.