Watch out, daydreamers – Oregon State Police is coming for you.
In an effort to crack down on “distracted driving,” additional officers have been patrolling Oregon’s highways and streets. The effort is part of national attempt to increase awareness and save lives during April, which is “Distracted Driving Awareness” month.
Distractions are classified in several categories: manual distractions, which cause the driver to take his hands off the wheel; auditory distractions, in which the driver hears something not related to himself or to driving; and visual and cognitive distractions, which cause the driver to take his eyes or mind off the road, respectively.
Amongst the cognitive distractions officers will be searching for are the easily identifiable distractions, like texting and driving; also included in the list is the considerably more difficultly-defined “daydreaming” and driving.
Distracted driving is a factor in a multitude of roadway crashes, from head-on collisions and colliding with fixed objects off the highway, to failing to maintain lane of travel and sideswiping another vehicle.
The Oregon Department of Transportation reports that between 2008 and 2012, 13 people were killed in crashes in which a driver was texting or talking on a handheld mobile communication device. During that same period, 65 people died in crashes involving any kind of distracted driver.
The effort to reduce the number of distracted-driving related crashes ran from April 10-15; other dates with special enforcement will be set throughout the month.
Oregon State Police, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tualatin Police Department will have additional officers patrolling areas of Interstate 5, Interstate 205 and city streets.