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Portland transportation officials urge safety over the Labor Day holiday weekend as deaths continue increasing

PBOT - This chart prepared by the Portland Bureau of Transportation shows how traffic fatalities are increasing.Saying that Portland traffic fatalities are the highest in years, city transportation officials are urging people to travel safely over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Thirty-six people had been killed in crashes in Portland by Thursday, Aug. 28. That is the highest number by that date since 2016, when 31 people had died. Only 22 people had been killed in crashes by the same date last year.

"Holidays are a particularly dangerous time on the road. As Labor Day approaches, I'd like to remind everyone to look out for others as you travel," said Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Director Chris Warner. "It has been a tragic year already for traffic fatalities in Portland. Let's do everything we can to slow this trend. Safety is everyone's responsibility. We all have a role to play in making our streets safe."

The increase is happening despite the City Council approving a Vision Zero Action Plan intended to eliminate all fatal and serious injury crashes by 2025.

According to PBOT, nearly half of those killed this year have been pedestrians, increasingly adults ages 65 and over. The Oregon Department of Transportation, nearly a third of drivers involved in fatal car crashes in 2017 had been drinking. Out of 56 fatal crashes in Multnomah County in 2017, 21 of them involved drivers who had been drinking.

To reduce crashes, PBOT said:

• Travel at a safe speed. Nearly half of Portland's deadly crashes involve people traveling at unsafe speeds.

• Travel sober. More than half of deadly crashes in Portland involve people who are intoxicated, usually by alcohol. Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

• Stay alert. Every three hours, someone in Oregon is injured by a distracted driver. Pull over to use a mobile device.

• Look out for others. Pedestrians and people bicycling don't have 4,000 pounds of metal to protect them in a crash.

• Buckle up! Seat belts save lives.

"You can prevent crashes and deaths from impaired driving," said Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis. "Put someone else in the driver's seat when you have been drinking- text a friend, call a cab, order an Uber or Lyft, but don't drive yourself."

You can learn more about Vision Zero here.

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