EUGENE, Ore. — If you get pulled over for drinking and driving on the Fourth of July and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, be prepared to give blood.
This is a first for Eugene police. If you’re pulled over on the Fourth and appear impaired, you will first take the field sobriety test.
If you fail, you will be taken to police headquarters for a breathalyzer, and if you refuse there will be a judge on hand or a phone call away to issue a warrant to get your blood drawn.
Oregon State Police is lending its mobile bus and someone certified can then draw your blood.
You might not know this, but if you refuse the breathalyzer, you automatically get a $650 fine and a year license suspension instead of 90 days.
Police say the blood draw offers more substantial evidence in a case.
“We are trying to get that process working so we have more effective prosecution of cases, and a lot of times that gets the offender into a program that can help them avoid making dangerous decisions in the future,” said Officer Ryan Stone, DUII Enforcement.
Officer Stone says the trend nationwide is that refusals aren’t being accepted at any time, and he hopes that will become the case here as a more streamlined telephone warrant process is put in place.
KEZI 9 News also spoke with a DUII lawyer who says on average police give out about 30 to 40 DUIIs a weekend in our area. And he says it’s not necessarily really drunk people who get these DUIIs, it’s people coming home from dinner who’ve had a couple drinks and think they can drive and really can’t.
EPD says blood alcohol content test refusals are on the rise across the United States, which is why the department and other agencies are trying this first-of-a-kind enforcement strategy.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports there were 10,839 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in the U.S. In 2009.
Photo courtesy of ODOT.