The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is asking the public to drive safe and drive sober this weekend.
"Many motorists will be out during the weekend celebrating the 4th of July Holiday which falls on Tuesday. Troopers will be out in force to make sure that drivers are complying with the law," said OHP spokesman Pete Norwood. "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 Tuesday at midnight. "Troopers from all over the country will be patrolling roadways targeting speeders, drunk drivers, and seat belt violators," said Norwood.
Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported 3 fatalities and 346 people injured in crashes during the July 4th holiday period last year. Twenty-five percent of the collisions were alcohol and or drug related. “The key to making this holiday weekend a safe weekend, is for all of us to drive responsibly,” said Norwood. “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 you have a greater chance of survival with it on.”
Motorist can expect the air craft division of the Highway Patrol to be monitoring their speed from the air. “Injury severity increases with speed,” said Norwood. "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. Captain George Green, Lake Patrol Division Commander, urges boaters to use caution and observe navigation rules.
- No one under 12 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.