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High speeds, youth prove to be lethal mix

Analysis by The Oklahoman shows a majority of 100 mph tickets go to those under age 25
by Phillip O'Connor Published: February 18, 2013

It's a combination that can prove deadly: Youth and high speed.

Of the 2,177 drivers ticketed for topping 100 mph on Oklahoma roads in the past two and a half years, more than half were younger than age 25.

Meanwhile, drivers in that age range made up 19 percent of the 696 fatalities on Oklahoma roadways in 2011 and a similar percentage in 2010, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

The most frequent contributing factor in such fatal crashes? Unsafe speed.

“When I came back from Vietnam, I thought I had seen everything possible in the destruction of the human body,” said former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Jerry Cason. “I had no idea that years later as a state trooper, I would see the senseless slaughter that occurs on our highways day in and day out.”

Cason, who retired in 2007 after 26 years with the patrol, now teaches “Alive at 25” classes for the Oklahoma Safety Council, where he emphasizes to young motorists that vehicles are 2,000- to 3,000-pound missiles cruising down the road.

“It's kind of like a big bullet. It has the ability to pass through other cars and enter innocent people,” Cason said.

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