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Oklahoma’s 2019 crash data summary released; fatalities down

The Shawnee News-Star
Crash data

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) has released the 2019 crash summary for Oklahoma.

These new numbers show that progress has been made in some areas, while other areas have seen an increase in crashes.

“These stats were collected from the nearly 80,000 crash reports submitted to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) during 2019," said OHSO Director Paul Harris. "In partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the crash reports are reviewed to determine exact locations and corrected for errors. The data analysts at the OHSO create a database that is used to evaluate and plan highway safety programs for the future,“ said Harris.

These crash stats are used to provide lawmakers, partners and stakeholders, the media, and citizens with important facts and information related to public safety on the roadways. They are also used to determine federal grant funding for various highway safety focus areas including enforcement, education, engineering and emergency medical services. These federal grant funds are managed by the OHSO.

The final report will be released in the upcoming weeks. The crash summary gives an overall look at traffic crash stats in Oklahoma over the last three years.

Improvements over previous years

“The encouraging news is that the number of fatalities on Oklahoma roadways decreased from 655 in 2018, to 640 in 2019," said Harris.

There were also 399 fewer people injured in crashes during that same time period. Oklahoma saw a significant drop in motorcycle fatalities; from 89 in 2018, to 66 in 2019.

"This is a result of increased driver awareness and motorcyclist safe riding practices,” said Harris.

Areas needing improvement

“These reductions are a positive trend, but nearly all crashes are preventable. We still have far too many people killed or injured on Oklahoma’s roads," said Harris.

Alcohol-related fatalities were trending down in previous years but increased from 158 in 2018, to 165 in 2019. In 2018, drug-related fatalities were higher than alcohol-related fatalities for the first time since the OHSO has tracked these numbers. In 2019, this trend continued with 245 fatalities resulting from drug-related crashes.

Oklahoma has also seen a sharp increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities, from 64 in 2018, to 88 in 2019.

“While our overall fatality numbers decreased in 2019, there were still 640 people who did not make it home to family and friends. Almost all of these deaths are preventable. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office remains committed to providing effective behavioral safety programs through working with our safety partners at the state and local levels to continue to reduce these preventable deaths.“

The complete 2019 data will be available on the OHSO website later in August, including an updated interactive crash dashboard showing several years worth of data.