Drunk Driving Continues to Cause Preventable Accidents in Oklahoma
A suspected drunk driver was arrested recently after his Hummer crashed into two trucks, a tractor-trailer, and an SUV in northwest Oklahoma City. Two drivers involved in the accident were transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life threatening, News9.com reported.
Considering the size of all the vehicles involved, it is somewhat miraculous that no one was fatally injured. Police told news reporters that the accident happened at a red light. Intersections are high-risk areas for auto wrecks, and adding a drunken driver into the mix is often deadly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents related to drunk driving. The agency used FBI data to search for demographic patterns in alcohol-impaired driving citations and found that 75% of impaired drivers arrested in 2012 were male. The agency also reported that two out of three late-night car accident fatalities are related to alcohol consumption.
Oklahoma has been combating intoxicated driving for many years, but fatalities, injuries, and property damage stemming from drunk driving continue. In 2004, 278 people died in Oklahoma drunk driving accidents. In 2012, 205 impaired driving deaths were recorded in the state, accounting for 29% of all traffic fatalities that year.
Although Oklahoma law enforcement has had some success in preventing drunk driving fatalities, vehicle safety advances and the improved crash worthiness of newer cars have also been factors.
Oklahoma received a rating of 3 out of 5 stars in a state-by-state report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for its prevention efforts. MADD approved of the state’s use of sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk or drugged drivers and its penalties on intoxicated drivers who endanger children.
MADD said Oklahoma made progress when it adopted an ignition interlock requirement for DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or higher and repeat offenders. However, the organization urges Oklahoma to go further by requiring ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders, regardless of BAC.
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