Grant funding will provide overlapping traffic safety enforcement campaigns through Labor Day weekend.
Beginning Friday, August 16 through September 2nd, deputies will be patrolling roadways in the county with a specific focus of identifying and stopping impaired drivers. The funding for the campaign is provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Sgt. Mark Norris said the Sheriff's Office encourages members of the community to report suspected impaired drivers to law enforcement immediately. "Our goal is to prevent deaths, injuries and property damage by removing them from our roadways," Norris said.
On Monday, August 19 through September 1, deputies will also take part in the annual Click It or Ticket high visibility campaign, enforcing seatbelt and child safety restraint laws to help keep families safe.
“We cannot overstate the importance of wearing a seat belt. It’s the law, but it’s more than that: By far, buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life. So often, it could have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt,” Norris said.
Norris added the agency's mission is to ensure the safety of those who live in or visit Douglas County. "We want people to understand the dangers of unrestrained driving as well as driving while impaired and to comply with the law."
According to NHTSA, in 2017, there were 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Oregon, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $115.00.
Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2017, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 39 percent were not buckled up.
The focused patrols are in addition to regular staffing levels, thus allowing the Sheriff's Office to participate in the increased safety enforcement without removing other resources.