By Rusty Surette, News 9
TECUMSEH, Oklahoma -- Tecumseh police and police departments across the state will take part in a special crackdown to strongly enforce the most basic and important highway safety laws in Oklahoma: impaired driving, seat belt usage, speeding and other traffic safety violations.
The statewide "More Cops. More Stops" campaign from July 27 through August 5 is a special demonstration project to test the effectiveness of a new combined high-visibility enforcement campaign to help save more lives on Oklahoma's roadways.
"Our goals are to make our roadways safer for everyone and to save lives," said Gary Crosby, Chief of Police for Tecumseh. "We take these laws seriously year-round, but during this special crackdown, we will be out in force and those who are caught breaking the law will be stopped and ticket, or even arrested."
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Tecumseh police are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) on this demonstration project to test the effectiveness of combined enforcement.
"The statistics are alarming. Impaired driving, not wearing seat belts and speeding claim far too many lives here, so violators will not be tolerated," Chief Crosby said.
Nearly 500 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in Oklahoma motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2010, and 60 percent of them were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Thirty-three percent of the Oklahoma fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved alcohol –impaired driver. Additionally, 28 percent of all Oklahomans killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were involved in a speed-related crash.
Research and fatal-crash statistics show that young adult male ages 18 to 34 are most likely to practice high-risk behaviors while driving, such as drinking and driving, or not wearing seatbelts. Of 18-to34- year olds who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in Oklahoma in 2010, 40 percent were involved in an alcohol –impaired driving crash; 76 percent of the 18-to34-year old passenger-vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belts; and 30 percent were involved in a speeding-related crash.
Nighttime passenger-vehicle occupants are among those least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in crashes when unrestrained. Therefore, nighttime enforcement has become a growing priority to the Tecumseh Police Department.
"We will be looking for all drivers who are engaging in risky behaviors on our roadways, especially anyone drinking and driving, not wearing seat belt, speeding and distracted driving," said Chief Crosby. "Together, we can make our roadways safer and we hope this special ‘MORE COPS. MORE STOPS.' enforcement crackdown will make everyone think twice before acting carelessly and endangering themselves and those around them."