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All 6 Deschutes County law enforcement agencies plan traffic safety detail next week after 4 recent fatal crashes

(Update: adding info, video, quotes from Bend PD and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In the wake of several recent fatal crashes, all six law enforcement agencies in Deschutes County, including Oregon State Police, plan to conduct a multijurisdictional traffic safety detail between 8 a.m. and noon next Tuesday through Thursday. 

“I think a lot of people have noticed that there’s been a lot of speeding problems on our highways, and it’s a busy time of year," Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller told NewsChannel 21 Friday. "Summer is so busy that we want to make sure people are being safe."

It's the first time since the pandemic started that Deschutes County law enforcement agencies will be working together on a big scale like this.

“We don’t always get time to dedicate it to traffic safety when we are out answering calls for service during the day," sheriff's Sgt. Jayson Janes said. "It’s nice for everyone to come together and make that our focus for a few hours of the day.” 

Miller said the summer months are an ideal time to conduct a traffic safety detail like this one because of how many more drivers we see on our roads in summer, with a lot of them being from out of town.

“Our goal isn’t to always give a ton of citations," Miller said. "We want people to be safe, and sometimes that means citations, sometimes that means educating people and making sure they know what the rules are.” 

Participating agencies include the Bend, Redmond, Black Butte and Sunriver police departments, as well as the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police, according to the Friday announcement, which continues in full below:

The goal of this traffic safety detail is to reduce speeds, injuries and crashes and remind people of the risks of speeding, distracted driving and other dangerous behaviors.

Summer in Central Oregon is a busy time, with many visitors and residents on our roads. We want everyone to arrive safely to their destination, and that means driving safely, slowing down and being responsible. 

Each agency will work its primary jurisdiction, focusing on the highways in their communities. That includes U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 97, as well as the Bend Parkway and the Bypass in Redmond.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data show that high speeds are a leading cause of crashes, particularly those resulting in injuries and death. In the past month, there have been at least four fatal motor vehicle accidents in Central Oregon. 

When you see law enforcement conducting traffic stops, please be cognizant of our officers' safety and remember to move over to give them space.

ORS 811.147 (the Move Over Law) requires anyone driving up behind a police car or emergency vehicle pulled over on the roadside with emergency lights flashing to move over into another lane. If you can’t safely change lanes, you must slow down to at least 5 MPH below the speed limit and leave as much room as possible for the emergency vehicle. This also applies to any vehicle stopped on a roadway and displaying hazard lights. 

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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