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Report: Oregon had record low fatalities over holiday

Preliminary statistics reported by ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting Unit (FARS) following the 54-hour Fourth of July holiday period reports just two traffic fatalities in Oregon during this holiday period, one of the lowest since 1970 (based on expanded hours of the reporting period). FARS statistics reflects the Fourth of July holiday period as the deadliest major holiday weekend of the year in Oregon.

Between 6 p.m., Friday, July 3 and 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5, two people died on Oregon roadways in fatal traffic crashes. FARS statistics show since 1970 that there was one previous holiday weekend in 1979 when there were no traffic fatalities, and in 2001 there was only one traffic fatality. Both of those holiday weekends were shorter 30-hour reporting periods. Last year there six traffic fatalities during a 78-hour holiday weekend reporting period.

Based on confirmed information reported during the holiday period to FARS, the first fatality was investigated by Oregon State Police (OSP) Saturday, July 4th at 7:52 p.m. (Mountain Time) on Interstate 84 near milepost 356. A 57-year old Baker City man died after his motorcycle traveled off the eastbound shoulder and struck a fog marker.

The second fatality was investigated by Jackson County Sheriff's Office Sunday morning, July 5th at 2:43 a.m. on Griffin Creek Road. A 26-year old Medford man died after the vehicle he was a passenger in left the roadway and crashed into a tree. (More information regarding this crash would be available from the investigating agency)

The Fourth of July holiday weekend also wrapped up a national enforcement effort involving several Oregon law enforcement agencies that started June 21st targeting intoxicated drivers. OSP troopers reported arresting 76 DUII drivers over this year's holiday weekend period. During last year's 78-hour period OSP troopers reported 94 DUII arrests.

Arrest figures provided by OSP dispatch centers show the following OSP offices reporting the highest number of DUII arrests was:

* OSP Portland Area Command - 12 DUII arrests

* Central Point Area Command - 10 DUII arrests

* OSP Bend Area Command - 9 DUII arrests

* Four OSP offices (Springfield, McMinnville, Newport, and Roseburg) reported 6 DUII arrests at their area command locations

OSP troopers responded to about thirty percent fewer traffic crashes on major state highways and freeways over the holiday period. Troopers also issued over 1,000 speed-related citations and assisted more than 480 disabled motorists.

Tactical planning by OSP offices were supported by a "Problem Oriented Policing" approach using past historical data to zero in on known problem highway areas and time periods. The planning helped put troopers on patrol area highways with the goal to reduce the number of traffic crashes where they were most frequently occurring during past Fourth of July holiday periods.