Friday, May 22, 2020

OHP Encouraging Memorial Day Safety

As Oklahoma returns to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 situation, it means lakes and rivers will be ready for guests this Memorial Day weekend.

While social distancing and hand hygiene are still important, so is the need to socialize and be with friends during the opening of the summer season.

If you’re headed to the lake, river or just down the road to celebrate the long weekend, make sure you pack a plan to get home safely.

During the 2019 Memorial Day holiday period in Oklahoma, two people were killed in crashes, one of which was alcohol-related. That’s down significantly from the 11 people killed in 2018. While that decline is great news, Oklahoma still lost two people last year in preventable crashes.

If you go to a lake or river, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need before you make camp. This will save you from having to run back to the store after you’ve been drinking.

“We will have troopers on the roads, in the water and in the air making sure people are being safe this holiday weekend,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Chris Arnall said. “We want to make sure everyone enjoys the time with friends and family, but we want them all to make it home safe.”

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) and the OHP want to remind everyone that law enforcement is still on duty and will be looking for impaired drivers this weekend.

The OHP’s marine enforcement division, Troop W, will have all available troopers out and working on area lakes this weekend.

“We urge everyone to consider safety on the water as well as on the roads, Troop W Capt. Mike Sharp said. “Have a life jacket onboard your vessel for each passenger. Children 12 years old or younger must wear a life jacket if they are on a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length. Never operate boats or personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

The OHP will team up with local law enforcement across the state to put a special emphasis on impaired driving enforcement this weekend. Several agencies in the areas around popular lakes and rivers will have officers working with Oklahoma impaired driving liaison troopers to get impaired drivers off the roads.

“We understand everyone wants to have a good time,” Sharp said. “We just ask that you follow certain rules and use common sense to avoid a tragedy that could have been prevented.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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