Some of Oregon's most dangerous stretches of roadway will soon be patrolled more often. Thanks to a federal grant, Oregon State Police will have the funds for 1600 hours of overtime through the end of the year to patrol areas with high numbers of roadway departure accidents.
Oregon's Department of Transportation identified 18 of these dangerous areas. Three are in Southern Oregon. They include what the locals call 'Dead Man's Curve', north of Grants Pass near mile marker 70 on I-5; mile marker 14 to 24 on Hwy. 199 near Cave Junction, and from milepost 75 to 77 on Hwy. 42 near Winston.
Roadway departure accidents at don't occur at an intersection or crossing. They are collissions that happen when a driver veers off the edge line or centerline. They result in the driver crashing head-on into another vehicle, side-swiping a vehicle, or veering off the road altogether.
From 2007 to 2011, along the ten mile stretch near Sunny Valley there were 210 accidents. Of those 169, or 81%, were roadway departure accidents.
These types of accidents are responsible for 66% of all fatal crashes in Oregon. Nationally they account for 53% of fatal crashes.
The funds for patrols in Southern Oregon will become available sometime around July.