Oklahoma sees little backlash from federal traffic survey

by Silas Allen Modified: January 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014

Two Oklahoma County sheriff's deputies participated in a federal traffic survey that has drawn criticism from drivers elsewhere in the country.

The program doesn't appear to have sparked the same level of backlash in Oklahoma as elsewhere. But a sheriff's spokesman said the outcry elsewhere would be taken into account when deciding whether to participate in the survey again.

During the survey, off-duty, uniformed law enforcement officers flagged vehicles over to the side of the road, where survey-takers asked drivers a series of questions about drug and alcohol use. The agency collected data in about 60 sites across the country.

The program was a part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving. The agency has conducted the survey about every 10 years since 1973.

The survey is voluntary, and all information collected is anonymous, said Kathryn Henry, a spokeswoman for the agency. Drivers who agreed to answer questions were given gift cards.

The agency conducted the survey in Oklahoma City on Sept. 6-8. During the survey, deputies flagged down drivers at three sites in Oklahoma City: the 3100 block of S Walker Avenue, the 2100 block of N May Avenue and the intersection of Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department spokesman Mark Myers said.

Myers said the department hadn't received any complaints about deputies' involvement in the survey. The department will look at the response the survey has prompted elsewhere in the country before deciding to participate in anything similar in the future, he said.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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