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Drinking, driving doesnt mix with holidays

The Gresham Police Department, in observance of Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. At the same time, we would also like to remind the public that celebrations including the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs and driving can have serious and lifelong consequences.

As a traffic officer, I am sarcastically 'thanked' every day this time of year for ruining someone's upcoming holiday by writing them a ticket for something they did wrong, so I have no doubt that receiving a traffic ticket stinks in terms of holiday cheer. Imagine how bad it would be to get into a property-damage crash - having to spend months dealing with repair shops, the loss of your car, insurance companies and raised rates. Now imagine how you might feel if your traffic violation resulted in injury to you, a loved one or a stranger in the car you hit. Take it a step further and imagine how you would feel if something you did caused the death of another person - someone's child, parent, sibling or friend - let alone someone you love in your own car. The negative ramifications of this type of act will certainly last you, the survivor who caused the crash, the rest of your life.

Now imagine if this unthinkable act were the result of celebratory drinking or drug use at a holiday party. Chances are you are not a career criminal. Chances are you yourself are someone's son or daughter, someone's parent, someone's friend - someone's loved one. Yet for the rest of your life, you will have to live with the knowledge that your one momentary reckless decision to drive after drinking or taking drugs resulted in an event that negatively changed your life and the lives of so many other people forever, not to mention the homicide charges, prison time, job loss, public humility, etc., you would suffer.

That would ruin your holiday season.

The following are statistics of the Gresham Police Department with regard to drug- and alcohol-related and other car crashes for the period from Jan. 1, 2006 through Nov. 25, 2006. Obviously, they are incomplete because they do not take into consideration the month of December.

GPD has made 501 DUII traffic related arrests during time period in question, of those:

• 19 were for drugs

• 6 were undetermined

• 93 were for alcohol content above 0.20

• 147 were for 0.15 to 0.19

• 120 were for 0.08 to 0.14

• 17 were for under 0.08

• 99 refused to take a breath test

• 50 of the arrests were of subjects younger than the legal drinking age and 17 of these were of juveniles

• There were eight traffic fatalities

• GPD investigated 317 accidents involving injuries

• The average injury accident takes approximately 54 minutes of officer time from arrival to call clearance

• GPD investigated 739 accidents involving property damage

• The average non-injury accident takes approximately 27 minutes of officer time from arrival to call clearance

The officers, management and staff members at the Gresham Police Department sincerely implore you to make other arrangements to get home when your celebrations include alcohol or drugs. We would like December 2006's statistics to be zero deaths or injuries due to drunk/drugged driving. As we tell teenage drivers in the Every 15 Minutes high school DUII awareness program (every 15 minutes a person dies due to drug/alcohol related car crash in the U.S.):

'Don't let it be you.'

Barry W. Ozeroff is an officer with the Gresham Police Department. You can contact him by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .