Drivers traveling on some Oregon highways can expect to see increased State Police patrols over the next six months. The overtime for those officers will come from a grant from the state Department of Transportation. Troopers are focusing their efforts on stretches of road prone to what are called "roadway departure crashes."
As the name implies, these accidents happen when a car leaves the lane of travel, as opposed to, say, a collision that takes place in the middle of an intersection. ODOT spokeswoman Shelley Snow says "roadway departure crashes" account for two thirds of all traffic fatalities in Oregon.
She says some of those crashes involve other cars. Others don't.
"Think of a crash where you go off the road and hit a fixed object, like a tree or a pole,” says Snow. “Unfortunately, many times those result in death."
The $20,000 grant originated with the US Department of Transportation. It's expected to cover 1,600 hours of overtime. Troopers will patrol more than a dozen trouble spots in the valley, along the coast and in Central Oregon.