Independence day weekends one of most dangerous for drivers, police stepping up patrols

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jul 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 23:40:19-04

TULSA-- As we head into this Independence Day weekend, a record number of people will be hitting the roads. With that increase in traffic comes more police officers looking for drunk drivers.

It’s a topic that hits too close to home for Diane White.
As White looks at the family photos hanging in her hallway-- the pictures of her late brother James stand out. He died July 4th 1985 at just 23 years old. White says he was with friends who were drinking and driving. 

“The driver himself had been drinking I think quite a bit longer than the other 3 guys that were in the car they went through a stop sign went over another car—all 4 kids in the car were thrown out, he was the only one from that car killed, he just hit the pavement, hit his head and died instantly,” White said.

White was in college when her brother died. Now-- 31 years later-- she still visits his grave site and honors him with July 4th themed decorations.

White says her brother’s death forever changed her family.

“I never once again got in a car with someone who’d been drinking too much, I didn’t think twice about calling someone for a ride,” White said.

That’s exactly the advice law enforcement is sharing with drivers this weekend.

George Brown Undersheriff Tulsa Co. Sheriff’s Office

“We want people to enjoy their holiday so we want them to get there safely our message is simple drive safe, drive sober, arrive at your destination safely,” said Undersheriff George Brown with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s a lesson White says more people are learning.  She just hopes they don’t have to learn it the hard way—by losing a loved one like she did.

“I’m overall satisfied, you can always do more and I think the police and law enforcement do a great job of self-awareness and awareness campaigns and letting people what’s going on,” White said.

With increased awareness and police presence, the hope is to avoid drunk driving deaths and to get the

Oklahoma Highway Patrol has an additional 21 deputies out on the highways and the turnpike this weekend. Other local agencies including Tulsa police and the sheriff’s office are also putting more patrol cars out on the roads.

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