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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’s traffic deaths’

Spring is here! Flowers are in bloom, birds are chirping, the sun is shining on many days in the Northwest, the days are longer and people feel more energetic.  Many want to get out to a happier place and enjoy the wind in their face.

Interestingly, it’s been reported that the Daylight Savings time change can be dangerous for some and researchers have shown there are increases in motor vehicle accidents.  Lack of sleep impairs driving ability, and driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.

Speaking of distracted driving

If you’ve been on a motorcycle for any length of time you’ve seen it all.  Talking on the cell phone, driving slow and looking down on the freeway, reading email at stop lights only to get honked at, eating and drinking, grooming, fiddling with instrument controls and GPS and talking with a passenger while using their hands for expressions. 

These are just a few of the common types of distracted driving habits that negligent drivers engage in across the northwest.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 12.28.44 PMAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine Americans are killed every day in automobile crashes that involve a driver who is distracted by some other activity while behind the wheel (Norton, 2015). As distracted driving crashes continue to claim lives, state agencies like the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) are working to develop countermeasures that will may convince drivers to drive more responsibly.

Despite all the efforts to implement safe driving campaigns which have included things like billboard slogans, graphic video clips, television (TV) and radio ads, publications and legislative initiatives; the crashes continue to increase. As reported by Kullgren (2015), fatal crashes in Oregon spiked from 217 to 288, or 33% from September 23, 2014 through September 23, 2015. During this same time period, total deaths increased from 238 to 312, or 31%; pedestrian deaths increased from 33 to 54, or 64%; and motorcycle deaths increased from 40 to 46, or 15%.

When drivers overstep the inattentive line as they willfully impose their own level of risk on others they become socially and legally responsible. Drivers who allow themselves to be distracted by their multi-tasking activities are increasing the risk factor for themselves and imposing that dangerous limit on motorcyclists, passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. This increased risk to which others are subjected is similar to other driver behavior’s that are considered aggressive and illegal: going through red lights, failing to yield, exceeding safe speed limits, reckless weaving, drinking and driving, driving drowsy, road rage, etc.  In addition, distracted driving causes auto insurance to go up for everyone and state legislators feel the need to control more of our lives via instituted laws.  

And speaking of legislators, today starts Oregon’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a big kick-off event in the capitol.  If you want to read more about the Distracted Driving Epidemic in Oregon see this report which details the problem, identifies some solutions and highlights the sobering facts.

Be alert out there!

UPDATED: April 18, 2017 — Noah Budnick, Director of Public Policy & Gov. Affairs for Zendrive published a blog post with some excellent data on Distracted Driving.  Interestingly was the finding that Oregon was the LEAST distracted of the states, however, the city of Portland was in 10th place of cities that were most distracted.  You can read the blog post HERE or download the report.

References:

Kullgren, I. K. (2015, September 30). More Oregonians are dying in car crashes, new data show. The Oregonian. Retrieved from http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/09/more_oregonians_are_dying_in_c.html

Norton, A. (2015). Texting while driving: Does banning it make a difference? HealthDay. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texting-while-driving-does-banning-it-make-a-difference/

Photos courtesy of ODOT

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Motorcycle/Car Collision In Oregon City

According to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Oregon’s traffic deaths fell to a low of 9.4% from 416 in 2008 to 377 in 2009.   Washington’s road fatalities dropped from 521 to 492, a 5.6% decline.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood cited the weak economy as a contributing factor, saying many Americans had cut back on “discretionary driving,” including going out to bars and restaurants after work or on weekends.  At the same time, LaHood stated cars are becoming safer and motorists are becoming increasingly safety conscious.

In Oregon, the annual highway safety report also found:

  • The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities continued a five-year slide, dropping from 137 in 2008 to 115 in 2009.
  • Speeding-related road deaths declined from 147 to 125. In 2005, there were 161.
  • The number of bicyclists killed in crashes dropped slightly, from 10 in 2008 to eight in 2009. While the number of pedestrians killed on the road dropped from 51 to 35.
  • After improving dramatically in 2008, the number of teenagers killed in crashes was on the rise again in 2009, climbing from 34 to 46. In 2005, 84 teens died in vehicle crashes.

Bucking these overall positive trends were motorcycle fatalities in Oregon increased to 53 in 2009 from 48 in 2008.  Nationally motorcycling fatalities in 2009 decreased for the first time in more than a decade, dropping to 4,462 in 2009 from 5,312 in 2008.  To read the 2009 FARS data in detail click here (.pdf).

Fred J. Brehony -- Patriot Guard Riders

In related news and sadly was this morning’s report of a motorcycle rider who died at the scene after a collision with a car at the intersection of South Springwater and Bakers Ferry roads in Oregon City.  According to Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective Jim Strovink the victim’s wife was following in a separate vehicle and witnessed the crash making this event even more of a tragedy.  Names were not released, but photos of the crash scene indicate the rider was a member of The Patriot Guard.  They are volunteer’s who provide escorts for veteran funerals, and Veterans coming home ceremony’s.  My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

It’s unknown if the driver didn’t yield or if the motorcyclist was at fault.  I’ll continue to follow the reports and provide updates.  My view is that you can never be defensive enough so please be safe out there.

UPDATE: September 11, 2010 — There is a good update in the Oregonian about Fred J. Brehony who was killed yesterday on his way to the Willamette National Cemetery.  As a member of the Patriot Guard Riders he was in route heading to a funeral for Howell “Hal” Birdwell (a U.S. Vietnam War vet) when he collided with a car.  Mr. Brehony was a U.S. Navy Veteran who served on a destroyer during the Vietnam War and deeply believed in the mission of the Patriot Guard.  He will be missed.

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 — KGW did an expanded story on Mr. Brehony.  Video is HERE.

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 (3pm PST) – Information was posted on the PGR Forums Web Site which outlines a two phase mission for Mr. Brehony.  One on Thursday, 16/Sept/10 and another on Sunday, 19/Sept/10.  Staging and briefing times are covered HERE.

Photo courtesy of Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.  Brehony photo courtesy of Olivia Bucks and The Oregonian.

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