EPD: Impaired driving remains a problem locally

Driving while impaired remains a dangerous problem in Enid and across the state.

So far this year, Enid Police Department has made 65 DUI-related arrests and worked two confirmed fatality accidents where one of the involved parties was driving under the influence. There are another two fatality accidents under investigation and awaiting testing.

Lt. Eric Holtzclaw said officers are out each week and at peak hours, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., looking for those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Drunk drivers, or drugged out drivers, can be out at any time of the day," he said. "With the growing elderly population, we have more and more people driving while under the influence of prescription medication and that gets to be problem for us during the day. People should heed the warnings on prescription bottles. They should not be driving or operating vehicles if it warns them not to do so on their prescriptions."

Holtzclaw suggest those who plan to go out and make drinking a part of their evening also should plan to find an alternate means of travel than driving themselves.

"Although society appears to be accepting of social drinking, it is not accepting to drinking and driving. There are so many alternatives people can take, such as having a designated driver, taking an Uber or Lyft," the lieutenant said. "Plan your events so you don’t have to drive. Arrange for alternate means to getting home other than driving."

In 2018, the most recent year statewide figures are available, there were 147 alcohol-related fatalities in Oklahoma.

Of those 147 crashes, 94 occurred in rural areas and 53 in urban areas. In 2018, there 3,109 crashes in the state were alcohol was involved, with 1,908 occurring in urban areas and the other 1,201 occurring in rural areas.

The busiest month for law enforcement officers in 2018 was October, with a reported 322 crashes where alcohol was involved.

"You don’t have to go far before you find someone close to you that has been directly affected by a drunk driver," Holtzclaw said. "The impact of drink driving can be devastating for those directly involved.

"The Enid community knows Enid Police Department has zero tolerance for drunk driving and you will be arrested if you’re stopped and found to be impaired," he said. "There are too many lives lost due to drunk driving."

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