OHP Using Social Media To Warn About Wrecks, Road Closures
TULSA, Oklahoma - Winter weather is here, and it's already caused our first crashes of the season.
It happened on I-244 between Yale and Sheridan, and the first alerts about the interstate being shut down came from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's social media.
Dispatchers are now using Twitter to get the word out about accidents, road closures and severe weather in real time. It’s a program being rolled out across the state.
As traffic was backed up for miles due to freezing drizzle that caused several crashes on I-244 in Tulsa Wednesday, OHP was letting drivers know what was happening through Twitter, within seconds.
TULSA COUNTY-I244 THROUGH THE CITY LIMITS OF TULSA IS VERY SLICK AND HAZARDOUS AT THIS TIME. BJH— Okla. Highway Patrol (@OHPtraffic) December 14, 2016
TULSA COUNTY-I244 EASTBOUND AND WESTBOUND HAVE MULTIPLE COLLISIONS WORKING AT THIS TIME. BJH— Okla. Highway Patrol (@OHPtraffic) December 14, 2016
Trooper Dwight Durant said, "That's coming directly from the trooper in the field, to the dispatcher to Twitter."
When troopers report back they're shutting down I-244, dispatchers blast the new information over Twitter.
Road conditions, crashes and police activity are all now relayed on the OHP Twitter account.
"With the inclement weather coming, snow and ice, it's a very valuable tool," Durant said.
Troopers are taking to social media to get the word out because it allows drivers to check their social media feeds before heading out on the roads.
Even dispatchers are seeing the Tweets pay off.
"It seems like when you can tweet things out you don't get as many phone calls on whether or not what's going on the roadway," said OHP communications officer, Tracy Hernon.
Hernon said the tweets are freeing up phone lines for emergency calls.
OHP turns 80 next year, and social media is the latest tool the state's largest law enforcement agency is using to keep everyone alert and safe.
"If it's not out in real time, it's useless," Durant said.
If you want to follow the "Tweeting Troopers" in addition to the OHP Twitter account, you can find their accounts below: