TULSA – Fatality collisions involving motor vehicles occur on a massive scale in this country. The map above, focused on Tulsa, is littered with fatalities from 2001 to 2009. Each dot represents a life lost. The map can be zoomed out to see the entire United States, where nearly 370,000 people were killed in motor vehicle related collisions.
To put that number in perspective, that’s the equivalent of more than 1,200 Boeing 787 Dreamliner commercial airplanes filled to passenger capacity, one crashing every two or three days for nine years – the equivalent of more than 120 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But the U.S. doesn’t mobilize wars against traffic deaths. We accept traffic fatalities as a cost of living in our auto-centric society. Sometimes we care more about the traffic congestion caused by a fatality wreck than we do the lives lost.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma had 668 traffic fatalities in 2010 – 68 were pedestrians, eight were bicyclists. Traffic fatalities in Oklahoma have actually decreased nearly 13% since 2006 when there were 765 people killed in traffic accidents.
Driving while texting or talking on a cell phone is a major problem in Oklahoma. In 2010, nearly 1,500 crashes were caused by Oklahoma drivers who were distracted while using an electronic device. The age group that crashes the most while distracted by electronic devices is 16 to 25-year-olds, followed by 26 to 35-year-olds. Of these 1,500 crashes, more than 500 were injury crashes and nine were fatal.