Some parts of the state will be on high alert this weekend as local police and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol team up to keep impaired drivers off the road.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and ENDUI will be patrolling alongside Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, Bokchito Police Department, Calera Police Department and Colbert Police Department from 6 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday to keep impaired drivers off the road. State Trooper BJ Keeling said the program targets areas with especially high rates of impaired driving.
“We have a large impaired driving problem in Bryan County,” Keeling said. “We’ve always had a high number of DUIs over here, and Marshall County is one of the highest in the state.”
Keeling said the plan is to increase the number of officers on patrol that night, set up checkpoints, and monitor the roads in a very visible manner to dissuade people from attempting to drive under the influence.
“Any time you increase the number of people on the road, collisions go up, but also there’s more alcohol being consumed over the holidays and more chances for drunk drivers,” Keeling said.
Alcohol is far from the only threat. Highway safety officers now document whether intoxicated drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Keeling said statistically, more drivers tend to be under the influence of drugs than alcohol, though officers don’t specify what substance the driver was using in their reports.
According to OHP, 324 of the 656 people killed in Oklahoma collisions last year died in alcohol or drug-related accidents.
As part of the push for safety, ENDUI is providing $10 coupons for Uber at https://bit.ly/2GFRy7S. However, Uber drivers and cab services can be hard to come by in rural or less populated areas.
Keeling said if all else fails, phoning a friend is often the best solution.
“Tell the truth, just say you’ve had too much to drink and ask for a ride,” Keeling said. “Call for help.”