Lawton_The U. S. Department of Transportation reports about 3,000 fewer people have died on the nation's highways so far this year when compared with last year's figures at this time.
The Sooner State also has had fewer fatalities. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper John Hoover says part of the reason the numbers are down is that gasoline prices were higher earlier this year, and fewer people were driving the roadways. That won't be the case in a few days as holiday travelers head to visit family and friends.
Kristine Boston plans to hit the road and says, "People are cranky, and people are fiddling with gadgets, so be very careful of the people around you!" Hoover agrees that too many people drive when they are tired. "A lot of people always want to get off work at 5 o'clock and then make that seven or eight-hour drive.... that's not really a safe thing to do after you've worked all day."
Hoover stresses extra rest may help drivers pay closer attention, and it gives the edge for a faster response time, especially for problems such as distracted drivers. "We've seen people on cell hones or really trying to text message. You can't really drive and text message at the same time." That's because your eyes are not on the road.
Driver Edmond Shorter agrees. "Be alert, don't try to do too many things that distract you."
Hoover adds, "If you're courteous to somebody else, somebody will be courteous to you, and you will enjoy your holiday more."
Boston said, "I have seen quite a few ugly wrecks and people that have been driving like a freak and should not be out driving."
June and July were the only months so far this year with more traffic fatalities over the same month in 2007. In December to this point, Oklahoma has had 34 fewer road deaths than last December.