JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) will be stepping up their presence on county roadways over Labor Day weekend, watching for impaired drivers.
The agency urges people to plan ahead if alcohol is included in their end-of-summer celebrations. Extra patrols will be watching for drivers who fail to do so.
JCSO deputies are on "grant-funded overtime patrols" through Monday, August 3. The focus of their efforts will be on rural roadways and popular summer recreation areas. The grant funding is part of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
According to NHTSA, about one-third of all roadway fatalities in the United States involve intoxicated drivers. In 2015, 10,265 people were killed in drunk driving crashes—that’s one person every 51 minutes, every day of the year.
Deputies offer the following tips to help prevent impaired driving fatalities:
* DRINK OR DRIVE: Once you know where you'll spend your time, decide whether you're drinking or driving—choose only one.
* GETTING AROUND: Before you take your first sip, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. Get a ride from a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
* HAVE A BACKUP PLAN: Save the number of a taxi company in your phone. In some areas, you can use ride share services such as Uber or Lyft.
* CAMP OUT: Rural areas may not have cell phone service. Take an overnight bag with the clothing and gear needed to spend the night if you’re too intoxicated to drive.
* PASSENGERS, TOO: Drivers aren't the only ones at risk. Only accept a ride from a sober driver.
* HELP A FRIEND: If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, help them to make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
* SAY SOMETHING: If you suspect an impaired driver on the roadway, call police immediately. It is okay to call 911 to report an impaired driver.
Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) is a crime, punishable by incarceration and/or fines. Additional or enhanced consequences may apply for some drivers, including those who drive impaired with children in the car, those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.15%, those with prior DUII convictions, and those who cause injury or property damage.