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Drinking and Driving – Over 200 People Die on Oklahoma Roads Each Year

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As the 4th of July weekend has come and gone I find it sad that we Oklahomans once again seeing headlines in the state’s major newspapers of alcohol related accidents. As a personal injury lawyer I have seen far too many fatality accidents where the drunk driver walks away from the accident unscathed. Although I do not wish harm upon the drunk driver statistics prove that drinking and driving contributes to a disproportionate share of the accidents in our state.

I recently ran across a great article on the website alcoholalert.com which contained a great statistical analysis of fatal Oklahoma motor vehicle accidents and the prevalence that alcohol plays in those accidents. For example, the chart shows that in 2006 twenty-six percent of Oklahoma traffic fatalities were the result of an intoxicated driver. The statistics in other years were even greater. Here is the chart from alcoholalert.com:

Year

Fatalities

Tot

Alc-Rel

%

0.08+

%

1982

1,054

608

58

523

50

1983

848

437

52

389

46

1984

797

382

48

339

43

1985

744

353

47

301

41

1986

698

340

49

285

41

1987

597

254

43

221

37

1988

638

298

47

258

40

1989

648

284

44

257

40

1990

641

284

44

246

38

1991

652

292

45

252

39

1992

613

273

45

242

39

1993

671

284

42

245

37

1994

687

281

41

240

35

1995

669

258

39

230

34

1996

772

295

38

249

32

1997

838

328

39

291

35

1998

755

268

35

240

32

1999

741

258

35

224

30

2000

650

229

35

194

30

2001

682

270

40

234

34

2002

739

251

34

215

29

2003

668

255

38

220

33

2004

774

278

36

245

32

2005

802

283

35

249

31

2006

765

243

32

201

26

In looking at the graft two things are clearly prevalent. Oklahoma is a small state and too many people are dying needlessly on our roads. Our friends and families are bearing emotional scars due to carelessness and sometimes outright recklessness. We must renew in our minds that cars, motorcycles and any form of motorized transportation is dangerous. There is a reason every state has enacted laws regarding motor vehicles, its because they are a dangerous weapon. Secondly, its ridiculous that over 200 people are dying every year in alcohol related deaths. In the future I want to examine how many non-intoxicated people are harmed by these intoxicated drivers, but nonetheless its important to note that over 200 people die because they wouldn’t take the time to call and ask someone to drive them.

So please, call this a public service announcement, call it a concerned citizen, but please make that phone call and have someone pick you up rather than driving drunk.