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OHP out in full force for New Year's Eve

Lawton_We talk about drunk driving every New Year's Eve and we talk about the lives lost because of it, but officials say this year the numbers of deaths is expected to be even higher.  7News took a look at how authorities are trying to crack down on violators.

According to her father, Jeffrey Vetter, 20 year old Jesse was on the back of a motorcycle, enjoying her ride when, allegedly, a drunk driver hit them head on.  Jesse was killed instantly.  "I'm never going to be a grandmother.  I'm never going to be able to have grandchild. She was my only child," says her mother Joann Giloin.

It's her family's first holiday season without her and it's a reality many others will, unfortunately, also face.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the daily death toll from drunken driving increases significantly during the Christmas and New Year seasons.  "The statistics are showing that this year we're going to average about 60 fatalities per day over the New Years, 3 day New Years day period," says David Kelly from HTSA. 

Now, they've launched a $7M dollar advertising campaign and a nationwide law enforcement crackdown to help drive the message home.  "If you drink and drive you're going to get arrested and you're going to get prosecuted," says Kelly.  But, some will continue to drink and drive and take the risk.

MADD estimates some 2.8 million convicted drunken drivers will be sharing the roads with us this holiday season.  "I just want anyone who thinks about drinking and getting behind the wheel to think twice," Kelly says.  According to NHTSA, drivers across the nation should expect beefed up patrols and more check points.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging motorists to avoid alcohol if they're planning to drive over the New Year's holiday.  Three people were killed during the holiday last year in traffic collisions in Oklahoma and they report there were just under 400 crashes involving nearly 750 people over the two day stretch.

Unsafe speed was the leading cause of accidents, but the patrol says that 30 people were injured in 22 crashes that were alcohol or drug related.  Troopers are patrolling roads in full force in Oklahoma throughout the holiday and the OHP says it continues to enforce a no tolerance policy for those who drink and drive as well as for those who don't wear seatbelts.

7News urges you to have a safe New Year.

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