A new study says speed kills more people on the highway than drunk drivers. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers say they've known that all along, but people simply don't take speeding seriously, even though it's one of the most deadly habits we have.
News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright says 35 people died in traffic crashes on Oklahoma roads last month, and troopers say speed was a contributing factor in nearly all the accidents. Trooper Chip Keating says he can't count the times he's worked an accident where someone had been speeding. He says speed contributes to people losing control and not stopping in time and that means people die and families suffer. "These people who drive erratic and speed and don't pay attention, we're the ones who have to go knock on their doors and tell their loved ones they're dead and that's the hardest part of our jobs."
Trooper Keating says many drivers think they have a magical cushion of 10 miles over the speed limit, but that's simply not true, especially if traffic is heavy or the road conditions are less than ideal. He says they don't stop people to be a pain, but to really try to help them. "We're not out here to break people even though some think we are. We're just trying to correct their driving behavior so they next time, they won't be 30-40 miles over the speed limit."
Keating says people often feel invincible behind the wheel of the car and think speeding is harmless, but he says the damage it does to people's lives is something you don't soon forget. "If you come out here and ride one day with me in my shoes, you'll see that when it's a 2,000 pound metal vehicle versus a human, the odds are against the humans.â€ Troopers say the best thing you can do for yourself, your family and for other drivers, is to slow down.
The number one excuse officers hear from speeders is I'm late and trying to hurry. They don't have a lot of sympathy, their advice is to leave earlier, not because they're heartless, but because they know first-hand, dying is worth getting someplace on time.