Oklahoma Law Enforcement Planning Crackdown On Drunk Drivers, People Not Wearing Seatbelts

Tuesday, May 17th 2016, 9:50 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The lack of a seatbelt is a contributing factor in about half of the traffic fatalities in Oklahoma each year.

In 2011, LaWanda Gray was wearing a seatbelt and survived a rollover accident with only a few cuts and bruises.

“My seatbelt saved my life,” said Gray. “You're almost guaranteed to survive if you're wearing a seatbelt. You have a 50 percent better chance of surviving an accident just by wearing a seatbelt.”

Those odds are why the Highway Patrol, Sheriff's Departments, and police say they're about to spend more time focusing on drivers who are drinking and anyone in a car without a seatbelt.

“We'll be active all over the state, setting up checkpoints, day and night,” explained one highway patrolman.

The checkpoints find drunk drivers, but they'll also ticket people not wearing seatbelts.

The highway patrol says 104 people killed in crashes last year were thrown out of the car.

That's what happened to News on 6 photographer Jack Caster.

Twenty years ago, in a rainstorm, he hydroplaned on Highway 412, by Lake Keystone. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was thrown out of the truck and killed. His passenger was wearing a seatbelt and survived with only minor injuries.

Five hundred traffic accidents each year around Tulsa leave someone with significant injuries.