Oklahoma Combats DUIs with Multi-Agency Mobilization (Guest Post)

The pervasiveness of Drunk Driving is a national, state, and local issue. Every community must find a balance between enforcing and establishing laws that promote responsible drinking and decision making, with the need to support local businesses. In Oklahoma, DUI trends have seen fluctuations over the last decade or so, but with a startling rise in alcohol-related fatalities in 2010, multi-agency initiatives have become a successful tool in combating this problem.

Since 2006, Oklahoma has seen a rise in fatalities in alcohol-related accidents from a low of 157 in 2006, to a high of 266 in 2008. Since that peak, the last three years of Oklahoma drunk driving statistics have shown that alcohol-related fatalities remain a difficult problem to fix. Even as alcohol-related crashes and injuries have seen a persistent drop since 2006 from 5,442 crashes and 4,223 injuries statewide in 2006, to just 4,411 crashes and 2,156 injuries statewide in 2011, fatalities remain high.

On a county level, Oklahoma County and Tulsa County have had the highest cumulative fatalities since 2006, with 142 fatalities in Oklahoma County since 2006. Recent efforts to combat DUI accidents in the County have shown a promising example of a multi-agency mobilization making a successful impact on the trend. On New Year’s Eve, metro-area law enforcement agencies reported 31 DUI arrests in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Between 7 p.m. December 31, 2012 and 7 a.m. January 1, 2012, multiple state and local agencies participated in 31 DUI arrests. The mobilization included the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, and the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission. While Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement officers patrolled establishments that served alcohol, and monitored 41 locations that sell alcoholic beverages, extra officers from all agencies patrolled city streets, keeping an eye out for impaired drivers.

31 DUI arrests in a twelve hour period in one metro area may seem like a large number, but when paired with the database statistics that showed there were no fatalities in the state during that same period, the efforts seem promising. New Year’s Eve is a historically dangerous night on the roads, but initiatives like this help to decrease the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.

Sent to us by Noble McIntyre, Senior Attorney