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Lawton police to increase patrols for holidays

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LAWTON Okla_ The number of car crashes with injuries is on the rise in Lawton and police say with more drivers on the road during the holiday season, the wrecks will likely rise, too.

In the past month, police were called to 50 accidents with injuries. Five of them were deadly. They said while they know accidents will happen, they hope additional patrols will help keep them under control.

Chief of Police James Smith said he has plenty of concerns. One of them is that the majority of accidents that have happened over the past month have been caused by sober drivers. He said as the roads continue to bustle with holiday traffic, more of those drivers could be climbing behind the wheel after they've had too much to drink.

Chief Smith said this time of year, the problem is only compounded.

"With Christmas and New Years Day coming, there will be a lot of parties. School is going to be out. There are going to be a lot of families out traveling."

Smith said the cause of this month's increased number of accidents has varied.

"It's not something I can pinpoint as a single cause. I can't single out speeding, texting, or alcohol involvement. It's been a multitude of things."

He said drinking or not, there are things you can do as a driver to ensure a safe holiday for you, your family and others sharing the road.

"The last thing anyone wants to be faced with this time of year is a tragedy in their family, the loss of loved one, or an injury. You don't want to spend the holidays in the hospital."

He said if you're behind the wheel, turn down the radio, put down your phone, and keep your eyes one the road. If you don't, the unexpected is sure to happen.

"I just trust in human nature that people are not going to get behind the wheel with the intent to hurt someone, but once that happens they are remorseful and very regretful."

If you follow basic safety driving procedures and simply slow down, Smith said you're sure to have a safe holiday.

"Our real focus is to slow people down and to preserve life and property and injuries. That's the main focus."

Smith said while you may be a safe driver who eliminates any distractions, you can be even more defensive.

He said while waiting at a red light, when it turns green, wait an extra second to go. He said if someone blows through their red light, you'll be able to avoid a collision.

Smith said police are also stepping up patrols on specific roads that are prone to accident, as well as those where people are more likely to speed.

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