Data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office showed that there were 54,285 car accidents across the state for all cities with a population of greater than 5,000 in 2013. Of these, 239 were fatal. In 2011, the state had the ninth-highest rate of traffic-related fatalities. Across the nation, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths has dropped an estimated 20 percent, due to stricter laws, increased education and improved vehicle safety. While most states saw similar decreases, those numbers rose 10 percent in Oklahoma from 1994 to 2012, leaving state officials mystified.
Experts are questioning the reason for the state's high number of deadly car accidents. They have used measures similar to those found in other states, such as safety campaigns and increased sanctions. Even so, they have not seen the improvements they hoped for.
The Office of Highway Safety is investigating the problem and comparing data. The number of fatalities in most categories, such as speeders and DUIs, was similar across the board. Although the laws have changed, Oklahoma has been slower to implement harsher penalties. For example, even first-time offenders must now install an ignition-interlock device on their vehicle for a minimum of six months. However, this has not impacted the number of fatalities to date despite reductions in deaths in other states after similar laws were enacted. Part of the problem might be due to struggling law enforcement budgets as overtaxed departments simply do not have the necessary manpower to enforce the laws.
When a driver's negligence causes a car accident, the victim might seek compensation for their medical expenses and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney might help a client to pursue a civil lawsuit.
Source: Oklahoma Watch, "Unlike Nation, Oklahoma Is Failing to Reduce Drunken-Driving Deaths," Shaun Hittle, Sept. 14, 2013
Source: OK.gov, "City Crash facts 2013", October 03, 2014