By Chuck Mai, AAA
As you drive this great country, bear in mind the following:
1. In 2009, ten percent of all fatal crashes occurred on Saturdays and Sundays between midnight and 6 a.m.
2. Nearly 2,900 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes during the deadliest driving month in 2009, August. (In all of 2009, there were 30,797 roadway fatalities.)
3. There are four times as many traffic fatalities on rainy days as on snowy days.
Therefore, the most dangerous time to drive may be during a weekend pre-dawn rain shower in August.
These gruesome statistics are courtesy the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
How does Oklahoma stack up? We’re a little different. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office says that in 2010, there were 616 fatal crashes in the state. Fridays (108) and Saturdays (95) had the most fatal crashes and the month with the most was July (72) followed by June (65). The time of the day that was most dangerous was between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when 118 were killed (19 percent of the total).
In these 616 fatal crashes in 2010 in Oklahoma, there were 668 fatalities. 451 were drivers, 139 were passengers, 68 were pedestrians, eight were bicyclists and two were in parked vehicles.
If Oklahoma’s 616 fatal crashes in 2010 seem high – it is – but we’re doing better. Compare that figure with 2009, when there were 646 fatal crashes and in 2008, when we recorded 737.
More good news: preliminary figures from the OHSO show that in 2011, the state suffered 609 fatality crashes. And so far this year, we’re on track to record even fewer. However, as the families of crash victims will tell you, it’s a real stretch to call the deaths of “only” 609 Oklahomans “good news.” Each death on our roadways touches countless lives and produces everlasting, painful repercussions.
Be proactive behind the wheel. Limit distractions (especially cell phone use and texting), drive refreshed, stay alert and buckle up. Drive aware, Oklahoma.