Shawnee and Tecumseh Police, as well as Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputies and other local law enforcement officers, will all be watching for impaired drivers this New Year's Eve.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) has teamed up with more than 60 law enforcement agencies across the state for the holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.
Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney said they will have extra officers on duty Tuesday night night, with more more focus on those driving under the influence.
Shawnee Police Cpl. Vivian Lozano said Shawnee officers are participating with Pottawatomie County deputies on the Drive Sober campaign, as officers will be out watching for impaired drivers.
Each year, law enforcement from Oklahoma are joined by thousands of personnel from around the nation to participate in this high-visibility enforcement campaign that begins ahead of Christmas and continues through the new year. The goal is simple; keep impaired drivers from killing themselves, and innocent people, on Oklahoma roadways.
According to newly released data from the OHSO, 331 people were killed in alcohol and/or drug-related crashes in 2018. That's the equivalent of a fully loaded jetliner crashing with no survivors, all killed by someone's choice to drive under the influence.
While Oklahoma has seen a decrease in the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes, the number of fatalities reported in drug-related crashes continues to climb.
"These numbers are shocking and they are why it is more important than ever to team up with law enforcement to help solve the problem," said Paul Harris, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
Each year, the OHSO works with local law enforcement agencies by providing grants to agencies who have been identified as having traffic-related problems in their areas.
Programs like ENDUI Oklahoma and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign work to address the growing severity of the impaired driving problem in Oklahoma.
"We want to make sure everyone has the chance to celebrate the holiday season safely," said Harris.
With the ever growing popularity of ride share apps like Uber and Lyft, there really is no excuse to drive under the influence.
"If you're going to any parties where alcohol will be served, make sure you plan how you'll get home before you start drinking," said Harris.
Each year, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign brings law enforcement across the state together to help end impaired driving. The 2018 holiday 'Drive Sober' campaign resulted in more than 600 DUI arrests state-wide and close to 30,000 hours worked by law enforcement.