Accident Reduction campaign begins today

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers are participating in the Combined Accident Reduction Enforcement traffic safety campaign today and tomorrow, cracking down on speeders, drunk drivers and those not wearing safety belts.

"During last year's Independence Day holiday, we lost six lives in traffic crashes," said Second Lieutenant Chris West. "Four of whom were under the influence of alcohol, and four of the victims were not wearing safety belts."

The traffic enforcement effort began at midnight and will continue throughout the holiday.

"With the new blood alcohol level at .08, it's very possible that drunk driving violations will increase," said West. "We continue to urge people to slow down and wear safety belts in compliance with state law."

Hundreds of Oklahomans will drive to state parks and lakes to enjoy the holiday.

"Last year there was one drowning and six boating accidents resulting in five injuries," said First Lieutenant Stan Roberts, commander of the Oklahoma Lake Patrol. "The majority of boat crashes occur when two vessels collide. This is usually because the boat's operator does not maintain a proper lookout."

The majority of these boat collisions occur on Saturday from noon until 6 p.m., but there is always an increase of boaters during holidays. Small, open motorboats are predominantly the type of vessels involved in the collisions.

"The chances of surviving a boat crash are greatly increased if the operator and passengers are wearing a personal flotation device," said Roberts.

Every vessel is required to carry one U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket for each person on board, and it must be readily accessible, of proper size and in serviceable condition. Children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear their life jacket on boats that are less than 26 feet in length when the vessel is underway.