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Norman officials, law enforcement target safety measures for highways

Recent fatality accidents on U.S. 77 and State Highway 9 have Norman officials concerned, resulting in efforts to improve safety along both highway corridors.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: December 19, 2012

— Law enforcement agencies and city officials are working together to address safety concerns on State Highway 9 and U.S. 77.

Norman police, Cleveland County sheriff's deputies and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers will step up enforcement on the highways, particularly targeting speeding, inattentive driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, officials said.

In a memorandum to the city council and Mayor Cindy Rosenthal, Police Chief Keith Humphrey and Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary detailed efforts to improve the safety of the two highway corridors where fatality accidents have happened recently.

Most recently, two people were killed and two others injured in a six-car pileup Dec. 11 on U.S. 77 at W Tecumseh Road.

On Dec. 6, a man was killed and others injured in a head-on collision on SH 9 at 120th Ave. SE. Another man was killed and others injured Nov. 21 on SH 9 at 136th Avenue Southeast.

A third fatality, involving a woman, happened on Feb. 20 on SH 9 at 120th SE, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said 36 fatal accidents have occurred in Norman between 2008 and 2012, with seven of them on SH 9.

Police supervisors review citywide traffic data every month to determine causes and locations that are particularly dangerous, the police chief said. The information provides a “starting point” for implementing accident prevention measures.

The department regularly sends out news releases emphasizing safe driving habits, Humphrey said, and reconfigures patrol beats as necessary to target those locations deemed particularly dangerous.

O'Leary said his department works specifically with the state Transportation Department to develop short-term, mid-term and long-term strategies to reduce traffic accidents, and especially traffic fatalities, on U.S. 77 and S H9.

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by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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