OHP joins 'Interstate 40 Challenge' to keep drivers safe

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is taking part in the third annual "Interstate 40 Challenge: The Drive to Zero Fatalities" initiative over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Interstate 40 Challenge means there will be increased patrols along all 2,555 miles of I-40 in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina; 331 miles are in Oklahoma.

"The OHP cares about you and your family and wants you to have the best holiday season possible," OHP Chief Ricky Adams said. "The OHP is going to do all that we can to protect you. One of the most difficult jobs for our troopers is working fatal crashes, and then having to notify family of their loved ones passing. I do not want another Oklahoma family to feel that heartbreak."

Troopers are going to focus on drivers who are breaking state laws, including speeding, impaired driving, occupant protection and texting.

"We want to make sure our citizens and visitors get to and from their holiday destinations safely. This is part of our primary goal of reducing the overall number of traffic fatalities in Oklahoma," said OHP Capt. Paul Timmons. "I am thankful for the support of the other state patrols and police and our local law enforcement partners across Oklahoma for helping us make I-40 safer."

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will promote the I-40 Challenge on its dynamic message boards along I-40.

Troopers will be assigned every 20 miles of I-40 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25 and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 29. There will also be an increased presence on other highways throughout Oklahoma during the holiday.

During the 102-hour 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period in Oklahoma, eight people died and 266 were injured in crashes on Oklahoma roadways. Three of the deaths occurred in alcohol- or drug-related crashes.

The challenge starts Wednesday, November 25, and runs through Sunday, November 29.