Thousands of motorists travel Oklahoma’s highways during the Christmas holiday. Unfortunately, some never reach their destinations.
Capt. Chris West of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol urges drivers to do everything they can to avoid that situation in his pre-Christmas news release:
“The Christmas holiday period in 2010 was a total of 78 hours that began at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, and ended at midnight on Sunday, Dec. 26. During this time, six people died in five crashes, one of which involved alcohol where two people died and four of the six fatalities were unrestrained.
“Patrol officials also reported 220 persons were injured in 156 crashes across the state; 27 of which involved alcohol, where 37 were injured. A total of 451 crashes occurred across the state, with 899 injuries; 54 involving alcohol, with 94 injured.
“This year’s holiday period will look much the same as far the length of the holiday period is concerned, but patrol officials are hoping for better numbers when it comes to crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
Col. Kerry Pettingill, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said: “We continue to urge people to take a few seconds to buckle up. Sixty-six percent of last year’s victims were not wearing safety belts, and it’s a tragedy they didn’t take this precaution. Those few seconds could have saved their lives.
“For people who choose to celebrate the holidays by consuming alcohol, there are many transportation options available. Getting behind the wheel is the worst option of all. Drinking and driving is irresponsible, dangerous and deadly. The best options are designated drivers and cab services. If you choose to drink and drive, you may get a ride from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol straight to the county jail.”
West says motorists traveling with cellular phones may contact the patrol by dialing *55 or 911 to report erratic and drunk drivers and traffic emergencies.