Deputies Focus on End-Of-Summer Traffic Safety

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies are focusing on traffic safety as summer comes to a close and kids head back to school.  Grant funding will allow JCSO to add enforcement patrols for both impaired driving and occupant safety without diverting deputies from regular calls for service. 

From this Friday through Labor Day (August 16 – September 2, 2019), JCSO is participating in an end-of-summer enforcement effort to find drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  The added patrols can occur anywhere in the county, but deputies will give added attention to recreation areas and rural roadways that have previously seen crashes involving impairment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 10,874 people in the United States died in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol limit of 0.08% or higher – an average of one death every 48 minutes.

Oregon law prohibits drivers from having a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, or from being impaired to a perceptible degree.  Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) – alcohol, drugs, or a combination – is a crime in Oregon.  Penalties vary depending on prior DUII convictions, the level of impairment, and other factors.

DUII Crash May 2017

During an overlapping period between August 19 and September 1, JCSO is taking part in a nationwide “Click it or Ticket” enforcement period, with a special focus on occupant safety for children.  The added patrols will occur primarily during the daytime hours when children are most likely to be traveling on area roadways.  

NHTSA statistics show that 662 children under the age of 13 were killed in passenger vehicle crashes in the US in 2015.  Of those killed, more than one in three were unrestrained. 

Oregon’s current laws require children under 40 pounds to be properly restrained in a child safety seat; infants must ride rear-facing until age two.  Children over 40 pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit of their car seat’s harness system, must use a booster seat until they are 4-feet, 9-inches tall AND age 8. 

Children who have exceeded the height and age requirements must be buckled properly in a regular seat belt.  Proper seat belt use means making sure the lap belt is positioned low across the thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the collarbone, not across the neck.  Failing to properly use safety belts or child restraints is a Class D traffic violation with a $115 base fine.

Traffic safety experts recommend keeping kids buckled in safety seats and booster seats even longer than the legal requirements for optimal safety.  Learn more about selecting and installing car seats at the SafeKids website:  https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/ .

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