We have recorded more than 100,000 traffic accidents in Oregon in the past two years, according to data from the Oregon State Police.
That is a more than 2,000-fold increase from the past year, according the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The increase in traffic accidents, which include serious injuries and fatalities, was due in large part to increased traffic enforcement.
“It’s not a coincidence that our traffic safety has gone up over the last couple of years,” said Trooper Matthew Reeds.
“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of traffic violations and violations that involve drivers using devices, and that includes the use of mobile phones, while driving.”
Reeds said that the state has now recorded 2,072 traffic deaths.
“The data shows that Oregonians are safer than ever,” said Reeds, adding that traffic cameras are a critical safety feature in the state.
“Our traffic cameras capture more than 80 percent of all traffic accidents that occur in Oregon.”
Oregon drivers are also more likely to use their cell phones than ever, according a recent survey.
Just a quarter of Oregon drivers said they use their phone in the last five minutes of driving, compared to 27 percent in 2015, according Toomer.com.
Traffic cameras have also saved lives, according Reeds and others.
“If a pedestrian was in the roadway and was struck by a car, our cameras would show the collision and would also show the road conditions,” said Paul Reeds of the Oregon Highway Patrol.
“In a serious accident, the camera would not be able to show the intersection or the scene of the accident.
In the past, that’s when we would not have saved that person’s life.”
Reets said the Oregon state police also use mobile traffic cameras to check the speed of motorists on the road.
“Because of this, we see more crashes involving distracted drivers,” he said.
In addition, the state is working to create a pilot program that would require all drivers to have their mobile devices turned on when they are behind the wheel.
“That will provide better visibility,” said John Reeds from the Highway Patrol, “and allow us to get there in a hurry.”
The Oregon Department in a recent study showed that the cost of the cameras has decreased from $1,800 to $200.
In recent years, the department has also seen an increase in distracted driving charges, from two to seven.
In Oregon, distracted driving is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1.50 fine.
The department has already seen an influx of calls from drivers who are concerned about the safety of their vehicles.
“There are drivers that are concerned,” said Toomer Traffic Manager Mike Kuehn.
“They’re looking for answers and trying to figure out how they can make the best of the situation.”