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For Release: Feb. 24, 2011 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601

Pickup Truck Safety Tips Can Help Prevent Crash Injuries 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) says a few basic safety tips can help save lives and reduce injuries of people driving or riding in pickup trucks. Many pickup truck drivers involved in traffic crashes were not wearing a seat belt, were driving while impaired by alcohol, and were driving in a rural area.

In 2007, there were 75,059 traffic crashes in Oklahoma; 36 percent of these crashes involved a pickup truck. Nearly 600 pickup drivers were injured, including 130 who died in these crashes. Overall hospital charges related to injuries from pickup truck crashes totaled $26.9 million.

Pickup drivers were less likely to wear a seat belt when compared to drivers of other vehicles. Seat belt use was known for 664 pickup drivers who were injured – 34 percent were not restrained. Twenty-two percent of pickup drivers were noted as alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash.

Drivers of pickups were more often injured on rural roadways than drivers of other vehicles. The proportion of drivers who were not wearing seat belts on rural roadways was 22 percent higher among pickup drivers.

The OSDH offers the following tips to keep all drivers safe on roadways:

  • Seat belts. Always wear your seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts save over 13,000 lives every year. Seat belts keep drivers and passengers safe inside the vehicle – being thrown out of a vehicle can be deadly. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.
  • Driving on rural roadways. Obey traffic safety rules. Driving in a rural area does not mean you are less likely to be involved in a crash. The majority of pickup traffic fatalities in Oklahoma occur in rural areas.
  • Impaired driving. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others drink and drive. Pickup truck drivers in Oklahoma who were hospitalized and/or died were more likely to be impaired by alcohol when compared to drivers of other vehicles.

Additional information on pick-up drivers and crash injuries can be found on the OSDH Injury Prevention Service Web site: http://www.ok.gov/health/documents/TDLP_Pickup_Drivers_2007.pdf.

 

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