Department of public safety officials release 2010 preliminary traffic fatality data

DPS released preliminary data for 2010 indicating 625 traffic fatalities on state roadways. "Not only a decrease of 112 from 2009 (737), but an eighteen year low since 1992 when we saw 619," said Captain Chris West, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety. While this number could increase with some delayed reporting, officials are extremely pleased to see the continuation of a downward trend over the past five years.

The state saw the highest number of traffic deaths since 1992 when state traffic deaths peaked at 846 in 1997. "A lot of positive things have happened since then, for example: primary enforcement on safety belt violations and improved automobile technology with supplemental restrain systems, coupled with lots of education, and aggressive enforcement," said West.

While officials are unable to pinpoint the exact reasons for the reduction, they’re pleased with the direction . "We’re confident the state’s 86% seatbelt compliance rate is a big reason for the reduction, but there’s no absolute science to pinpoint it. However, these numbers reflect a 5 year downward trend from 2005 when the state experienced 800 fatalities; and we’re hopeful these seatbelt compliance rates will help to continue that trend into the future." West said.