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Oregon State Police hand out 317 tickets and 273 warnings in 48 hours

Posted by on April 27th, 2016 at 11:09 am

Distracted driver being distracted.jpg

Illegal. Dangerous. Common.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Three weeks after the State of Oregon declared a culture war against distracted driving, they launched the first battle and the results of a “saturation patrol” show just how commonly people break the law while driving.

Over just just 48 hours in Central Oregon last weekend, troopers from three counties issued 317 traffic citations and issued 273 warnings. The officers specifically targeted behaviors that contribute to serious injury and fatal crashes like speeding, lane violations, and impaired and distracted driving.

Here’s the full breakdown:

– Speed citations: 172 warnings: 61
– Seatbelt citations: 17 warnings: 18
– Lane violation citations: 14 warnings: 38
– Cell phone citations: 15 warnings: 10
– DUII arrests: 9
– Other traffic crime arrests: 5
– Warrant arrests: 3
– Minor in Possession: 2
– Open container: 2
– Misc citations: 99 warnings: 146

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Keep in mind that the areas patrolled are rural and have low population density and traffic volume. Just imagine how many violations they would uncover if they did an enforcement action like this in Multnomah County.

A recent analysis of crash data by the Oregon Department of Transportation showed that between 2010 and 2014, a distracted driver is involved in a crash every 2.5 hours and a person is injured because of distracted driving every 3 hours. A recent survey by AAA found that over a 30-day period, 70 percent of people admitted to talking on their phone while driving.

Hopefully the State Police will keep up this pressure and continue to do enhanced patrols. If they were able to do these regularly, we might not need a new statewide transportation funding package.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

Now we need more of the saturation patrols in Metro area (Beaverton included) and no minimizing the fines. Make the patrols pay for themselves. Guaranteed the gang task force will get a big boost in their case loads by having guns confiscated.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I have an Idea,we can just replace ODOT with an enlarged permanent version of this task force. Most safety problems will be solved, and little new car infrastructure ( the only kind ODOT knows) will be needed because a lot of bad drivers will be taken off the road and traffic volumes will go down.

Paul Atkinson
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Paul Atkinson

In 48 hours, their “saturation” patrols produced FIFTEEN cell-phone citations?

That is so wrong. That’s terrible. It’s pathetic, it’s awful, it’s worthless, it’s…I’m off to consult a thesaurus. That’s how many I could give out per HOUR on my bike commute.

What’s it going to take to get some enforcement on that?

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Note the DUII share is a bit smaller than when we have a crosswalk enforcement action. And this is a 48hr sample, not mid-afternoon on a workday. How about some automated stop light breathalyzer drones?

pdxperson
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pdxperson

What about citations for bikers that think they own the road? There are 10% of drivers that ruin things for everyone because of their driving, and there are 10% of bikers that are incredibly entitled and feel like they own the road ahead of drivers and pedestrians. We need more enforcement on bikers too, not just drivers.

Spiffy
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6.6 citations per hour…

how many troopers were on the road? how many are there usually?

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

“taken off the road”

What do you mean? Nothing takes drivers off the road short of actual incarceration. No insurance? No problem. No license? No problem. Chances of being caught for these are slim, and the punishment is continued suspension of license plus a fine. Somebody won’t or can’t pay the fine? Just fine them more, which they still won’t pay, but they’ll keep driving around.

Literally getting bad drivers off the road is nearly impossible in the USA.

Adam
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Adam

What is a warning? Just like a slap on the wrist? Are there any ramifications for getting a warning?

Kyle Banerjee
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Kyle Banerjee

The level of citations — particularly for cell phones — seems low. Depending on where enforcement took place, drivers may have been able to argue that they were parked since the car wasn’t moving and therefore couldn’t be distracted from driving….

I bike commuted a 20 mile stretch of 99W for 10 years. Cell phones were the least of my worries. Every day, I saw people putting on makeup (why do driver side visors even have makeup mirrors), reading, working on laptops, etc while driving 65mph as part of their daily routine. It’s amazing what some people will do when behind the wheel.

Carrie
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Carrie

The other day I was on the bus and we were waiting at a red light. I looked over at a young, 20-something driver and he was NOT on his phone. Just looking out the window, waiting for the light to turn. I was shocked. It made me want to write a letter to his mother and tell her what a fine young man he was.

Robert Burchett
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Robert Burchett

I’m wondering where in Central OR they were patrolling? In Bend I would have expected more cellphone violations, but out on the rural state roads more open container violations. Once I counted 67 beer cans between two mileposts on the road between Prineville and Paulina, without stopping or leaving the saddle. Somebody out there is holding a lot of Keystone Light. Of course they don’t hold them very long.

Dan A
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Dan A

In Alaska, it’s punishable by up to $10,000 and 1 year in prison.

http://www.dps.state.ak.us/AST/ABHP/hwysafety.aspx

Though they just reduced it to $500 in Anchorage.

http://www.adn.com/article/20151110/anchorage-assembly-approves-new-texting-and-driving-penalty

Mark smith
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Mark smith

David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC
Fines tend to hit poorer drivers hardest. For rich drivers, a fine is merely part of the cost of doing business, a bit like a bribe, but to the system, rather than to individual officers. Confiscation of vehicles would be a far more effective deterrent, as would detention, no matter how briefly, of the drivers themselves. However, when it was suggested to the City of Portland in the past (usually related to outer Division or 122nd), the police themselves pointed out (rightly, I think) that such enforcement actions will likely lead to disproportionate citations against blacks and immigrants, as well as take away officers from working on murders and other violent crimes in the community.
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Who is forcing anyone to act dangerously behind the wheel? If you can afford a car, you can afford to license it, insure it and keep in compliance with the law. If you have kids, you can afford car seats as well. If not, then don’t get the car.