OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma law enforcement will be out in great numbers this Labor Day weekend, keeping Oklahomans safe by being on the lookout for impaired drivers.
Labor Day weekend is a popular time for Oklahomans to hit the road and head out to a lake or river for one more day of sunshine, swimming and boating as summer draws to an end.
The festivities also bring a heightened risk of dangerous driving and motorists being impaired behind the wheel.
Six people were killed during Labor Day weekend in Oklahoma in 2020. There were 502 crashes that weekend, and 53 of them were alcohol and/or drug related. Labor Day weekend in 2019 also had six deaths.
Twenty-one of last year’s crashes involved motorcycles, three of which caused serious injuries. Two of the crashes were alcohol related, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
“When you’re on the roads, look twice for motorcycles. Give them plenty of space on the roads, motorcycles can stop quicker than other vehicles. When turning onto a roadway, be sure to look for motorcycles who may be approaching. Their smaller size often makes it more difficult to judge how fast they are traveling and how close they may actually be to you,” Highway Safety Office officials said.
The Highway Safety Office and Oklahoma Highway Patrol ask motorists to always drive sober and drive safe, with hope that the alarming crash numbers from previous Labor Day weekends fall this coming weekend.
“There is no excuse for driving impaired or distracted, these crashes are completely avoidable,” said Cody McDonell, communications manager for the Highway Safety Office. “We want to remind everyone to never drive after they’ve been drinking or using any type of impairing drugs such as prescription medication, marijuana, and illicit drugs.”
Highway Patrol and other members of law enforcement throughout the state will wage a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign this weekend, searching for impaired drivers.
“Hundreds of people are killed in Oklahoma each year by impaired drivers,” said Trooper Eric Foster with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “I was recently struck by a driver who was under the influence of many substances and had no business behind the wheel.”
Impaired individuals who do not have a designated driver are advised to call a cab or a rideshare service. Officials say a cab or rideshare might seem expensive, but a DUI conviction costs an offender near $10,000, on average, according to the Highway Safety Office.
Highway Patrol will be looking for impaired and dangerous drivers in the Pryor area during the Rocklahoma music festival from Sept. 2-5, working alongside members of the Pryor and Chouteau police departments, the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office and Grand River Dam Authority.
Law enforcement officials ask Oklahomans to encourage their friends and family to always drive sober
“Not only could you hurt or kill yourself, you could potentially injure innocent other people by choosing to drive impaired. It’s dangerous, and it’s illegal,” Safety Office officials said.