Acting Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Russell Maples has announced that OHP will take part in the annual “Interstate 40 Challenge: The Drive to Zero Fatalities” traffic safety initiative scheduled for the Thanksgiving holiday period.
The Interstate 40 Challenge will consist of increased patrols along the I-40 corridor that stretches through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. The challenge will take place on the busiest travel days of the Thanksgiving period: Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 26.
“Oklahoma is committed to increasing our Trooper presence not only on the I-40 corridor, but on all our major state roadways,” Maples said. “We are pleased to be taking part in this important challenge.
“Now we ask drivers to do their part in keeping our roadways safe during this holiday period. Please avoid distractions, make sure everyone is appropriately buckled up, obey all speed limits and traffic laws, and of course don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or using medication that can cause impairment.”
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23 and ended at midnight Sunday, Nov. 27. During this time period, five people were killed in five fatal crashes in Oklahoma. Some 324 people were injured and a total of 624 crashes occurred.
“The OHSO fully supports the I-40 Challenge initiative,” said Paul Harris, OHSO Director. “Our local partners will be increasing education and enforcement efforts to help prevent traffic crashes during the holiday. We want to ensure that travelers arrive safely at their Thanksgiving destinations and return home safely as well.”
I-40 runs 2,555 miles through eight states, with 331 miles in Oklahoma.
Troopers will be assigned every 20 miles of I-40 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26. There will also be an increased presence on other highways during the holiday.