Here’s an area that has attracted a few complaints from readers recently. It’s an area heavily traveled on the north side of Edmond, a street that has been a major route for many travelers for years.
In the interest of public safety, I'd like to report a hazardous road construction, which has stopped uncompleted for more than two months. The location is Danforth and Western. The new road being constructed is at a much lower level than the present road and although some part of the road has been blocked off with a concrete divider, the road outside Stone Briar is not and we have had some accidents. Since there are no street lights, this area is very dangerous specially at night time. The construction of this road began nearly six months ago and nobody (Oklahoma Department of Public Safety/OKC road transportation etc.) seems to know what the reason for the delay is. I’d be grateful if you can help by getting this problem resolved quickly before someone gets killed. Thank you. — Susan
Obviously, safety is a key issue, Susan. I’m quite frankly surprised that you haven’t had an informed response from those you cite. Here’s someone who can help clear up the confusion.
Shannon Cox, public information and marketing manager for Oklahoma City’s Department of Public Works, says: “(I)n regard to the road construction project on Danforth (NW 192) and Western, the new road is being lowered, and every precaution is being made to keep the area safe for drivers, where possible concrete barriers are being used.
“The construction work did have weather delays in December, January and February, but the project is still on schedule for completion by the end of the year.
“Currently, most of the work is concentrated at the bridge and west end. The plan is to move back to Western and NW 192 within the next few weeks.”
By the way ...
If you haven’t heard, April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The National Safety Council is promoting an effort to alert everyone to the dangers of actions and devices that distract drivers and can lead to serious consequences. Forty-three states now have laws banning texting when you are driving. Oklahoma is not one of them.
Statistics show that almost a quarter (25 percent) of all vehicle accidents in our nation are caused by distracted driving.
And the numbers aren’t decreasing.
“If a driver is cognitively distracted, whether it is due to a cell phone or eating, they lose focus on up to 50 percent of their driving environment,” said Tim Stewart, director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, one of the many agencies supporting the national effort.
AAA Oklahoma, another group supporting safe driving in our state, has statistics showing that was a factor in more than 11,000 crashes in 2012. As I said, the numbers aren’t going down.
Safety officials noted last week in a news release: “Many people understand that texting and driving is a dangerous distraction, but so is driving with a hands-free device. Drivers using a handheld or hands-free device are four times as likely to crash. Studies have shown using a hands-free device is no safer than handheld. As much as 90 percent of car accidents are caused by driver error and can be prevented.”
They recommend avoiding the use of cell phones while operating vehicles, recognizing the risks of hands-free devices and understanding the dangers of distraction while driving.
They also urge telling others about those dangers.
I readily join the list of those supporting the effort. On streets and/or highways every day, I see drivers who are engaged in an activity that obviously is affecting their driving, such as weaving across lanes, sitting for a prolonged period after a light has turned green, driving at uneven speeds. Usually, I see the driver looking at or talking on a cell phone.
These are things that can be avoided by simply holding off until you can find a place to pull over and make the call or text. That’s better for everyone.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.