With a big increase in the number of serious and fatal car accidents, Tulsa police are expanding traffic enforcement efforts. After a spike in deadly crashes over the past two years, authorities felt the best way to address the issue is by targeting problem areas across the city and ticketing violators. They are also reaching out directly to motorists with safety and educational campaigns.
According to a report from Tulsa World, our city sees an average of 45 fatal car accidents each year. In 2021, however, that number jumped to 70, including 19 pedestrians. Tulsa Police Traffic Safety Coordinator Lt. Paul Madden notes that the highway patrol is seeing “more speeding and lane safety concerns,” which may be attributed to the pandemic.
Why are people speeding?
Experts point to a combination of factors along with the pandemic as a reason for the uptick in speeding-related fatalities. Paul Harris, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, told KOCO News back in June, “Although traffic counts were down, what we have seen in a significant increase in speed. So, speed fatalities have increased in the last year. Some of that is the result of less cars on the road, (and) people thought they could drive a little bit faster.”
He also noted a decreased law enforcement presence during the pandemic, along with a lack of safety education, pointing out, “Nearly 30% of our fatalities are people who are not wearing their seatbelts or they are speeding, and those are behavioral things. People speeding, not wearing their seatbelts, driving distracted, driving impaired. That is what’s causing the deaths within Oklahoma.”
Social media and community reach-out
The Tulsa Police Department periodically releases educational videos on their Facebook page, offering guidance and safety tips to Oklahoma drivers on best practices for navigating our local highways.
- In this video about speeding, Lt. Paul Madden acknowledges that everyone has probably exceeded the speed limit at some point in their lives, but that it is time to take highway speed limits seriously. He notes the dramatic increase in fatal crashes, and how some are caused by excessive speed – more than 50 mph over the speed limit. Lt. Madden also reminds drivers it takes the length of an entire football field to stop when traveling at 55mph.
- In a related message, Lt. Madden returns with another announcement about proper following distance. In answer to viewer questions about how closely they should follow the vehicle in front of them, Lt. Madden recommends using the “three-second rule.” You can do this by making sure you have three seconds’ worth of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Wait until the car in front passes a landmark. You should be able to count to three before your vehicle passes that landmark. This will give you enough braking time in case of a sudden stop. In bad weather or low visibility, add one second.
Even though the information is certainly out there, reckless drivers continue causing accidents. Tulsa police also increased measures to target these dangerous drivers, focusing on areas of concern. Lt. Madden told Tulsa World, “The individual Traffic Unit, at the Patrol Divisions, they’re using their time to target specific moving violation areas and write a bunch of ticket violations. Specifically, last week the Riverside Division did a speeding enforcement group effort on the Broken Arrow Expressway and wrote a bunch of tickets in a couple of hours.”
Finally, he said, “There are two ways we can approach (speeding). One is enforcement, and the other is education.”
Why is speeding so deadly?
Speeding is one of the most common causes of deadly car accidents. In fact, in 2019, nearly 9,500 Americans died in speeding-related car accidents. The NHTSA reports that people speed or drive aggressively for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Congested traffic conditions
- Running late
- Feeling anonymous
- Disregard for the law and others
None of these reasons, however, are worth the consequences of speeding – which can increase the chances of a driver losing control of their vehicle and decrease the effectiveness of safety features like airbags and seatbelts. Speeding also increases the potential for severe or fatal injuries.
Common injuries from speeding-related car accidents
Car crashes caused by speeding tend to cause life-altering or deadly injuries. Victims of these types of accidents may require multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, and need care for the rest of their lives. Common injuries from high-speed crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Limb loss and amputation injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Wrongful death
Because of the severity of these types of injuries, victims of high-speed crashes may also require emotional counseling to deal with the trauma of the accident. If you or a loved one were injured in a serious car accident, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands how to value your case properly – ensuring you secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
The car accident lawyers at Biby Law Firm have a history of success obtaining favorable verdicts and negotiating fair settlements for our clients throughout Tulsa. For help with your claim, get in touch with us today by calling 918-574-8458 or completing our contact form to schedule an appointment.