Oregon law enforcement agencies have a message this Halloween: keep the party off our roads.
As partygoers celebrate Halloween over the weekend and trick-or-treaters scatter around our neighborhoods Wednesday night, be aware that your disguise won't make you invisible, said Capt. Ted Phillips, director of Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division. Oregon's law enforcement officers who arrest drunk drivers will be visible looking for those who decide to drive impaired.
Halloween night can be one of the deadliest of the year for crashes involving impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010, 41 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation around Halloween from 6 p.m. Oct. 29 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1 involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
Oregon Department of Transportations Fatality Analysis Reporting System reported no traffic fatalities in Oregon during Halloween night over the last three years. Statistics between 1998 and 2008 tell a scarier story: 90 percent of the fatalities 10 on Halloween night in Oregon occurred in alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes.
During the last two Halloweens, a Sunday and Monday, OSP troopers arrested eight DUII drivers each night. When Halloween fell on a Saturday night, in 2009, troopers arrested 34 DUII drivers.
ODOT, OSP and local law enforcement agencies offer these simple driving reminders for a safer Halloween:
Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals.
Slow down on streets where there are no sidewalks and children are walking on or near streets or the shoulder of the road.
Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and cautiously. Have child passengers enter and exit cars on the curb side, away from traffic.