Drive safe this holiday weekend

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is asking the public to drive safe and drive sober this holiday weekend.

"Many motorists will be out during the weekend celebrating the 4th of July Holiday which falls on Saturday this year. Our troopers will be out in full force to make sure that drivers are complying with the law," said OHP spokesman Captain Chris West. "Alcohol offenses, speeding, and restraint violations have always been leading causes of fatality collisions during the summer months, that is why we focus so much of our resources on these violations."

Oklahoma is one of several states participating in Operation C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) - a nationwide campaign by state police agencies to reduce fatalities during holiday periods. This year the enforcement campaign will begin on Friday and end Sunday at midnight. "Troopers from all over the country will be patrolling roadways targeting speeders, drunk drivers, and seat belt violators," said CPT West.

Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported six fatalities and 348 people injured in crashes during the July 4th holiday period last year. All five of the fatality crashes last year, killing six people, were alcohol related. “The key to making this holiday weekend a safe weekend, is for all of us to drive responsibly,” West said. “Use a designated driver if you plan on consuming alcohol, and always wear a seat belt because it may not be your mistake that causes a collision and your survival rate is higher if you are buckled-up.

West said, "Motorist can expect the air craft division of the Highway Patrol to be monitoring their speed from the air." “Injury severity increases with speed,” "Slow down, buckle up, and get to your destinations safely. That's the goal for everyone."

The 4th of July holiday period means congestion on area lakes as well. Kurt McKean, Lake Patrol Division Lieutenant, urges boaters to use caution and observe navigation rules. One drowning occured last year and it was also alcohol related. LT McKean says, "Rules of the water apply the same as the rules of the road with the exception of stop signs, yeild signs, and etc. Therefore, boating and drinking become extremely dangerous. If you are arrested for boating under the influence you are subject to fines plus jail time."

No one under 13 years of age may solely operate a personal watercraft (JetSki, Wetbike, SeaDoo, etc.)

One appropriately sized coast guard approved life jacket for every person in the boat

Nationally, more people are injured in boating collisions during the 4th of July weekend than any other weekend of the year.