New Year Holiday

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging motorists to take heed over the New Year holiday.

"We will do everything possible to keep the roads safe this holiday weekend, but we also need the cooperation of all travelers," said Captain Chris West, Department of Public Safety spokesperson.

During the 2005 New Year holiday period, nine people were killed in seven separate traffic collisions in Oklahoma. Eight of those nine were not wearing safety belts, five were caused by unsafe speed, and three were alcohol or drug-related. "This is a travesty. It only takes a few seconds to buckle your seat belt. Those few seconds may save your life or the life of a loved one," stated West.

Troopers will be patrolling Oklahoma's roads in full force throughout the holiday weekend. OHP will continue to enforce its "no tolerance" policies for those who choose to drink and drive, and for those who choose not to wear their safety belts. For people who decide to celebrate the New Year by consuming alcohol, there are many transportation options available. Getting behind the wheel is not one of those options. Drinking and driving is irresponsible, dangerous, and deadly. Designate a driver, call a cab, or stay home. "If you decide to drive hammered, youíre going to get nailed," West said.

From January 1 through December 27, 2006, there have been 727 traffic deaths in the state of Oklahoma. "We are urging the public to help us end this year without more fatality collisions on our roadways, so please obey speed limits, buckle up, and donít drink and drive," stated West.

Motorists traveling with cellular phones are encouraged to contact the Oklahoma Highway Patrol by dialing *55 or 911 to report drunken or erratic driving and traffic emergencies on the interstates and highways.