Authorities Begin Safety Initiative On Infamous Cherokee County Highways
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and Cherokee County law enforcement kicked off a new "Cherokee County Corridor Project" Tuesday.
The goal of the project will be to reduce collisions in specific sections of highways in Cherokee County, including highways 82, 62, 51 and 10.
"It's something you can't fix," said Justin Hysmith with the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. "I mean, you can't bring someone's life back if they've lost it on the highway."
Law enforcement officers hope to prevent accidents by creating zero tolerance safety corridors on several highways near Tahlequah.
Those stretches, ranging from 4 miles to 12 miles in length have been identified by the Oklahoma highway safety office as high crash areas.
"What can we do to save lives?" said Lieutenant George Brown with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "And that's to take a proactive approach."
In the safety corridors, law enforcement officers will have zero tolerance for things like seat belt, speeding, driving under the influence and more.
"We have a new plague, if you will, of inattentive drivers and that's texting while driving," Brown said.
The program is patterned after similar programs in other states that have helped to reduce the number of wrecks.
"I think it will help because people will be aware that we're there," Tahlequah Police Chief Clay Mahaney said.
For 30 days, officers can give warnings in the corridors while spreading awareness about the initiative and the dangerous stretches of highways. After 30 days, the zero tolerance policy takes effect and will be in place all summer.