On Saturday, April 23, through Sunday, April 24, law enforcement agencies in central Oregon will be conducting a “saturation patrol.”
Law enforcement officers will focus their efforts on “driving behaviors that contribute to serious injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes” including speeding, occupant safety, lane violations, impaired driving and distracted driving.
The saturation patrol will involve multiple agencies on state highways, county roads and city streets.
Release from the Oregon Department of Transportation:
Pay attention, save a life: Ditch the distractions – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
“If you’re texting… you’re not driving.”
Studies show many drivers will talk and text when they’re alone, but think twice about it when they have a passenger. Yet nearly all drivers think it’s dangerous to do so, passengers or not.
More than eight in every ten respondents to a recent survey said they feel uncomfortable riding with a distracted driver.
ODOT and partner agencies the Oregon State Police and AAA Oregon/Idaho are emphasizing the importance of focusing on driving when you’re behind the wheel.
“Our goal is to change cultural norms when it comes to distracted driving,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “If each of us focuses on the job of driving when we get behind the wheel, we’ll save lives every year.”
Ditch the distractions
1. Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
2. Spread the word. Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
3. Install an app. Apps can help you avoid texting while driving. Go to your app store and search for Distracted Driving Lifesaver.
4. Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
5. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
6. X the Text. Don’t ever text and drive, browse online or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most states. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.
7. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Oregon prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.
8. Prepare. If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
9. Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
10. Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
11. Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.
* ODOT data analysis of crashes in Oregon in 2010-2014 shows:
o On average, a distracted driver crash occurs in Oregon every 2.5 hours.
o On average, a person is injured in a distracted driver crash in Oregon every 3 hours.
o On average, a distracted driver crash involving a cell phone occurs in Oregon more than 5 times a week.
o On average, almost 5 people are injured each week in a distracted driver crash involving a cell phone.
* A recent AAA survey concluded that, in a 30-day period, 70 percent of drivers talked on their cell phone while driving and percent read texts or emails while in traffic.
* A recent ODOT survey by Southern Oregon University concluded drivers didn’t like someone else driving distracted, but still did it themselves: 84 percent of respondents said they feel uncomfortable riding as a passenger with a distracted driver. But 44 percent admitted to driving distracted with passengers. And 75 percent admitted they drove distracted when they drove alone.