|Oregon Senator Doug
Driving under the influence of
intoxicants (DUII) remains a very
serious problem in Oregon. More than
20,000 DUII arrests are made each year,
and at least a third of those arrested
are repeat offenders. Thirty percent of
Oregon traffic deaths are DUII related.
More than two out of three traffic
deaths between the hours of midnight and
three a.m. are related to driving under
the influence.. The carnage caused by
DUII related injuries and property
damage is alarming at best. National
statistics show that three out of every
ten U.S. residents may expect to be
involved in a DUII related crash during
Both the people of Oregon and their
Legislature are taking serious action on
these troubling statistics.
Oregon has already adopted strict
laws on blood alcohol content. The law
provides that any Oregon driver has
given their implied consent to submit to
a mandatory breathalyzer test. Either
failure of the test, or failure to
submit to the test, results in an
automatic suspension of the license to
drive as well as significant fines.
Moreover, the cost of the driverís auto
insurance is certain to skyrocket.
An ignition interlock device is a
mechanism wherein the driver must blow
into a tube that measures their blood
alcohol content before the automobile
ignition is activated. Current law
requires that an ignition interlock
device be installed for at least one
year in any automobile that a first time
convicted DUII driver is authorized to
drive. Any subsequent offense requires
installation and maintenance of an
interlock device for two years.
The DUII penalties increase
sequentially with each repeat offense
until the fourth conviction is
designated a class C felony. That
penalty requires permanent revocation of
the driverís license, a prison term of
up to five years and a maximum fine
Last year the people of Oregon
further increased the penalties on DUII
offenses by adopting Ballot Measure 73.
That measure requires a mandatory jail
sentence for anyone convicted of a third
The recently adjourned Oregon
Legislative Assembly passed three bills
to further crack down on drunk drivers.
SB 395 was adopted to clarify how
Ballot Measure 73 would be implemented.
It requires a 90 day sentence in the
county jail for a third DUII conviction.
It also provides that the state must
reimburse the county for the cost of
that incarceration. It further clarifies
that a fourth conviction is a class 6
felony having a 13 to 30 month
presumptive sentence in the state
HB 3075 tightened up current law by
requiring the installation of an
ignition interlock device as a condition
of interring into a DUII diversion
program. The bill removed the ability of
the court to suspend the interlock
device requirement due to insufficient
money in the Intoxicated Driver Fund
Program. It also requires the provider
of the interlock device to notify the
court of any attempt to tamper with the
device and makes any attempt to disable
the device a Class A misdemeanor.
HB 2104 increases the fees paid by
persons convicted of DUII from $130 to
$230 and increases the filing fee for
the diversion agreement from $261 to
$361. The money from that $100 fee
increase is dedicated to replenish the
Intoxicated Driver Fund Program to
insure that money is available to
install and maintain the ignition
Adoption of these more stringent laws
is making a difference. Oregon traffic
crashes, injuries and deaths have been
declining for several years even though
the miles driven have increased.
A great deal of credit also must be
given to Oregon law enforcement.
Officers are now being routinely
assigned to patrol at times and
locations where DUII offenses have
historically occurred. That police
presence likely deters some DUII
offenses from happening as well as
placing the officers where they are most
likely to identify impaired drivers.
Some of the improved police policies
include holiday saturation patrols,
increased police presence in high risk
areas and more emphasis on training to
identify impaired drivers.
One area where the Legislative
Assembly failed to take action was in
prioritizing funding for the Oregon
State Police patrol division. Projected
funding levels for the next two years
will not be sufficient to hire enough
sworn officers to provide 24/7 patrols
in most areas of the state. We can only
hope that this unfortunate choice of
priorities will not result in the
reversal of our trend toward fewer DUII
related crashes on Oregon highways.
Please remember, if we do not stand
up for rural Oregon... no one will.