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Lack of troopers patrolling highways giving speeders the green light

In Lane County, Oregon State Police said two to three officers patrol roads from the border of Lane and Linn counties all the way south to Roseburg.

Posted: Dec 16, 2019 6:42 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Oregon State Police are having trouble patrolling the state's highways, and as a result, drivers are pushing the speed limit.

In total, 450 officers patrol more than 6,400 miles of highways. In Lane County, Oregon State Police said two to three officers patrol roads from the border of Lane and Linn counties all the way south to Roseburg.

OSP spokesman Tim Fox said most of the time these officers are responding to 911 calls.

"We're trying to focus on what we call the fatal five: Speed, occupancy safety, lane use, fair driving and distracted driving," Fox said. "So those are the ones we try to focus on the most, and as you know with the amount of traffic and the number of troopers we have, we can only get the very few."

Drivers are noticing this lack of patrolling. Springfield resident Joyce Ice said she tries not to let the chaos on the roads get to her.

"If I'm in the right lane, they can do whatever they want out there, you know as long as you don't kill me," Ice said.

There was a push by OSP and Gov. Kate Brown to increase the number of troopers with House Bill 2046. If it had passed the state legislature, it would have required OSP to double its force by 2030. However, it died in the House Ways and Means Committee in June.

But for drivers like Sutherlin resident Sabrina Schexnider, being defensive is key.

"Most times when I tell people to drive safely, it's not them in particular, it's watching out for everybody else on the road," Schexnider said.

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