The city of Aurora received proof of some harrowing driving habits of people who recently traveled on Airport Road.
Aurora's contracted police officer Mike Bell, while giving his monthly report to the city council during its July 11 meeting, mentioned that a Marion County Sheriff's deputy discovered many beer cans surrounding a speed-radar trailer on Airport Road that appeared to have been tossed aside by drivers.
The discovery was made when the deputy came to pick up the Marion County speed limit trailer on Airport Road that the city used for one week after receiving permission from the county's traffic safety team.
Mayor Bill Graupp said the city borrowed the speed-radar trailer from Marion County to look at trends on Airport Road, which has seen significant traffic increases in recent years "for a number of reasons."
"There are a lot more cars on Airport Road these days and you don't need a measurement just to know that," Graupp said. "We also all can see the increase in traffic going over Boone Bridge, (which crosses the Willamette River on Interstate 5 south of Wilsonville), and there are lots of reasons for that that all of the nearby mayors can all argue and debate. The bottom line is, Highway 551 is getting choked up and a lot of local people go up Airport Road now to get onto I-5."
The speed limit on Airport Road is 55 mph along the northern stretch of the roadway that passes in front of the Aurora State Airport, and 35 mph on the south end of the road as drivers begin to pass the subdivisions while approaching the intersection with Northeast Main Street.
Graupp said the city used Marion County's speed-radar trailer, which not only encourages drivers to slow down and go the speed limit but it also records the speed of each automobile — they do not record license plates — to provide an overall snapshot of the average speed of all drivers. This helps compile data that could be used to create future traffic safety plans by the city, the county or both.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides some sobering facts about drunk driving in Oregon. The number of deaths between 2003 and 2012 that resulted from automobile crashes involving a drunk driver reached 1,232. The majority of those crashes involved people 21 to 34 years old and primarily were men. About one in three U.S. traffic deaths involve a drunk driver.
The CDC says that in Oregon just 1.4 percent of people report driving after drinking too much while nationally that statistic is 1.9 percent.