Safe Travels: Keep drunk drivers off the roads

We all want our “comfort and joy” to extend to our highways.

But ‘tis the season, historically, for dangerous behavior on our roads, by way of inebriated drivers.

Last year in Oregon during the Christmas holiday 78-hour reporting period two people died in two separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads. OSP troopers reported 50 DUII arrests during last year’s “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend” and 28 DUII arrests during the Christmas holiday period. More than half of last year’s DUII arrests by OSP troopers during the Christmas holiday reporting period occurred Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Happily, the authorities are on the lookout for this misplaced holiday-cheer-behind-the-wheel.

For those who include alcohol with their celebrations and extend it onto the road behind the wheel of a vehicle, their joy tragically could change to sorrow for them and their loved ones.

Every year since 1991 on the weekend preceding Christmas, the International Association of Chiefs of Police have organized “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend,” an effort to heighten public awareness and increase the apprehension of drunk and drugged drivers. Agencies involved include Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police.

Motorists are asked to turn on their headlights Friday, Dec. 21, for “National Lights on for Life” day, in remembrance of those who have been affected by an impaired driver.

To help save lives on our roadways this holiday season, OSP and local law enforcement partners have been involved in a special “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown to stop impaired drivers beginning Dec. 12 and ending Jan. 1

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25, police officers nationwide and in Oregon will be stepping up these enforcement efforts for “National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend” through the Christmas holiday period.

OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT offer these simple but important safety tips:

n Plan ahead: If you are planning to drink, volunteer to be a designated driver, designate a sober driver or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a set time.

n Be responsible. If you are hosting a party, offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and help your guests be responsible. Don’t let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel.

n Walking or bicycling after dark? Wear bright clothes to help you stand out.

n Buckle up, every trip, every time.

n Drive defensively at all times.

Report impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1 or OSP at

1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).

Flags Lowered

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Tuesday ordered all flags at public institutions throughout Oregon be flown at half-staff until date of interment in honor of Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate.

The full presidential proclamation is available at:

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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