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Ponca PD: Drivers ages 16-19 are most likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes


Drivers ages 16-19 are most likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, 62 drivers ages 16-19 were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, 29 drivers age 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, there were three times as many male as female drivers involved in fatality injury accidents. These facts and others are available from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
The Ponca City Police Department, continuing their partnership with the OHSO through a competitive grant process, was awarded funds to provide additional traffic enforcement officers to combat aggressive drivers along with drunk and drugged drivers. “Our target is no specific age group. Our goal is to maintain safety on the streets of our community” says Patrol Division Captain Earl Watkins of the Ponca City Police Department. Of the nearly 7,000 citations and warnings written to drivers by Ponca City Police Officers in 2015, 1055 were issued to drivers under the age of 21.
A national study revealed the overwhelming majority (75 percent) of serious teen driver crashes are due to “critical errors,” with the three common errors accounting for nearly half of these crashes: lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards going too fast for road conditions (e.g., driving too fast to respond to others or to successfully navigate a curve) being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle. Distraction is highest when boys ride with other boys, according to the report and boys actually drive safer when girls are in the vehicle.
Watkins suggests parents ride with their teen driver and look for the “two second rule”. If your child insists on using the phone for navigation or listening to music the only safe place for it to be is in a dock at eye level or on the dashboard. The worst places are the cup holder, the driver’s lap or the passenger seat. A driver taking their eyes off the road for more than two seconds is extremely dangerous. “The longer you look away, the worse it gets”, added Watkins.
A study by the Department of Safety reveals that almost one third of teenage drivers killed in crashes had been drinking and that driving late at night is far more dangerous during the day. The director of AAA goes so far as to suggest that teens not be allowed to drive between the hours of 9pm and 5am for the first six months of having their license.
Funding is provided to the Oklahoma Highway Safety office through the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration.