McMinnville Police Department will be conducting saturation patrols over Memorial Day weekend.
“This is one of our biggest weekends,” said McMinnville Police Lt. Mark Mara. “We’re going to be holding saturation patrols all weekend, not just on Memorial Day.”
This holiday is often considered the start of summer, and in most years, it is a bad time to drive. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 400 people a year die during a typical Memorial Day weekend. On average, there are 13.1 percent more traffic deaths than on a non-holiday weekend.
It is a big driving weekend as well. It is estimated approximately 36 million drivers will travel at least 50 miles from home during Memorial Day weekend. Too many cars on the road, combined with booze-fueled parties and barbecues, results in more accidents and more deaths, says Mara. He notes 44 percent of all fatalities over Memorial Day are alcohol-related.
“People forget driving under the influence isn’t just alcohol,” said Mara. “It’s any substance that can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications as well as illegal drugs, can also result in DUI charges.”
Saturation patrols are designed to make highways safer and to increase public awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving. The idea behind announcing saturated patrols and roadblocks in advance is to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place as opposed to catching them on the road.
You can help make the streets safer by calling 668-7000 or 911 if you see a vehicle being operated in an unsafe manner.