The long journey towards improving roadway safety in Oklahoma

Hailing it as a "first of its kind look at promising practices in reducing preventable deaths" state by state, the National Safety Council released results that were actually not so promising. In fact, the NSC found that not one state has gone far enough to protect drivers nationwide from preventable deaths on the road.

Oklahoma did not fare well. The state scored a C in roadway safety. Other categories in the NSC study included community safety (F) and workplace safety (F), giving the state an overall grade of F and a ranking of 42nd.

Oklahoma achieved high marks for being "on track" in certain areas of road safety. However, the state fell short in the following areas:

  • Ignition interlock for all first time and repeat DUI offenders
  • Child restraint or booster through age 8
  • Total hand-held and hands-free cell phone ban for teens and novice drivers
  • Required seatbelts for all occupants and seating positions covered by law
  • Required seat belts on school buses
  • Automated enforcement of speeding or red light cameras
  • Urban interstate speed limit of 55 mph
  • Young/teen passenger restriction for 12 months
  • Required use of motorcycle helmets
  • Mandatory bicycle helmets for young riders
  • Drivers required stop for pedestrians in uncontrolled walkways or roadways

The bad grades and low marks got the attention of the executive director of the Oklahoma Safety Council. Dave Koeneke sees the less than stellar results as more of a "call to action." He particularly wants to keep the issue of distracted driving at the forefront, specifically when it comes to cell phone use.

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