How serious is drunk driving in Oklahoma?

In 2015, there were 170 fatalities in drunk driving accidents in Oklahoma. That represents an increase of 26 deaths from the prior year.

With holiday parties in full swing, this time of year is one that really brings concerns about drinking and driving to light in Oklahoma. However, the reality is that many people make the dangerous choice to get behind the wheels of vehicles after having alcoholic beverages all year long. Just how big is the problem in Oklahoma?

Statewide fatality statistics show the trend

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2015 alone, a total of 170 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents. That number is actually a sharp jump up from the 156 deaths the year before and equal to the fatality count in 2013.

Oklahoma County leads region with DUI deaths

In looking at the NHTSA records by county, Oklahoma County experienced more deaths in alcohol-related crashes than any of its neighboring counties. Over the five years spanning from 2011 through 2015, there were 104 total drunk driving deaths in Oklahoma County. The neighboring county with the next-highest number of DUI fatalities was Canadian County with 28 such deaths.

Cleveland, Pottawatomie and Logan Counties all recorded a similar number of impaired driving deaths with 19, 18 and 17, respectively. In Lincoln County, 13 people were killed in these crashes and in Kingfish County another 10 people died.

Recent headlines show the ongoing risk

Sadly drunk driving deaths are not simply something for the records but are an ongoing problem. KFOR explains how in October of 2016, a mother lost her 29- and 34-year-old daughters in a single drunk driving crash while she was in the same vehicle with them. Her girls died after being hit head-on by a Hummer that was operating by a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road. To make matters worse, this drunk driver had been involved in another impaired driving accident just the year before.

KSWO reported on how two passengers were ejected from a vehicle driven by an impaired person after the vehicle crashed. Both passengers required treatment at a hospital.

According to the Enid News, a man was flown to a critical care trauma unit with multiple injuries after being hit by a speeding drunk driver who lost control of her vehicle. The woman has been charged with a felony and faces between four and 20 years in prison if convicted.

Taking action after a crash is recommended

Anyone who is involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver deserves help. While drunk driving is a criminal offense, working with an attorney to explore options for compensation may be another way to help get the message out that drunk driving is not safe.