Traffic fatalities and crash-related injuries are on the rise across Oregon, and so, too, is reckless driving. Reckless driving occurs when a motorist demonstrates a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others while operating a motor vehicle. It is a frequent factor in Oregon crashes that lead to injuries, fatalities or both.
According to Oregon Live, traffic deaths rose 15% last year in comparison with the year prior.
Oregon traffic fatality statistics
In total, 581 people died in car crashes across Oregon in 2020, with 67 traffic deaths taking place in Portland, alone. Some of these deaths involved drivers or passengers riding in traditional vehicles. However, many cyclists and pedestrians also lost their lives in wrecks on Oregon roadways last year.
Reckless driving and other contributing factors
Law enforcement officials statewide attribute some of the increase in road deaths to motorists traveling at higher speeds. Fewer drivers have been on the roads in recent years, and authorities have seen an uptick in the number of motorists traveling at speeds that meet or exceed 100 mph. Street racing has also become increasingly popular and problematic across the state in recent years. This, too, contributes to rising road fatality rates. As far as pedestrian deaths, an Oregon pedestrian advocacy organization reports that increased speeds, poor lighting and a limited number of crosswalks all contribute to rising pedestrian injury and fatality rates.
Drivers who injure or kill others as a result of engaging in reckless behaviors behind the wheel may face serious sanctions, including possible time behind bars, depending on circumstances.