Friday, March 13, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today wished Oklahomans a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day, warning people not to drink and drive. The governor announced that the Department of Public Safety will be conducting ramped up enforcement efforts this weekend in an effort to crack down on impaired driving. She also signed an executive order renewing an advisory council tasked with looking at ways to reduce impaired driving.
Last year during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, 77 people were seriously injured and four people died as a result of alcohol- or drug-impaired driving.
“I want to remind our motorists that if you drink and drive - or if you use drugs and drive - you will get caught,” said Fallin. “If you plan to drink, be sure to have someone in your group who doesn’t drink so that he or she can be a designated driver. Let’s have a fun weekend but, above all, let’s have a safe one.”
In November, the state launched the “ENDUI” campaign, which emphasizes personal responsibility in preventing impaired driving. As part of this initiative, during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period law enforcement agencies across the state will be participating in ENDUI enforcement efforts. ENDUI prevention teams will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols at multiple locations throughout the state.
“Since establishing these prevention teams late last year, state, local and county law enforcement agencies have demonstrated their commitment to ENDUI in Oklahoma,” said Col. Rick Adams, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “They’ll be out again during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday to continue their prevention efforts to ENDUI.”
Fallin today signed an executive order re-establishing the Governor’s Impaired Driving Prevention Advisory Council (GIDPAC). The governor formed the council in 2013. It would have expired next month without the governor’s action.
The council works on ways to reduce the incidence of impaired driving and associated traffic crashes in Oklahoma. Council members are asked to review and evaluate impaired driving in the state, and oversee plans for addressing identified gaps in state programs and efforts intended to reduce impaired driving.
“Drunk and impaired driving leads to hundreds of fatal tragedies every year in Oklahoma,” the governor said. “The renewal of this executive order will ensure the state remains focused on addressing this problem and saving lives.”
“While St. Patrick’s Day is typically considered a drinking holiday, it’s important to remember that impaired driving encompasses more than just alcohol,” said Garry Thomas, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “It also includes illegal drugs and inappropriate use of over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications.”