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Texoma automobile fatalities higher than state average

Experts weigh in ahead of Memorial Day Travel
Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - As millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for Memorial Day, Adele Lewis of Wichita Falls is bracing herself for differences drivers will see on the road, especially here in Texoma.

“Holiday weekends are notorious for being more deadly,” said TxDOT Public Information Officer Adele Lewis. “You have more people having celebrations. You have more alcohol with people that maybe usually don’t drink and so it’s a high time for having a good time and that is the problem because some of these people get out and drive.”

In the state of Texas, 33 percent of deadly crashes involved someone who was under the influence, but in just the city of Wichita Falls alone, that average skyrockets to 60 percent.

Wichita Falls Driving Instructor Dave Ruhe said what to do is stay half a city block away and avoid pulling over as it can attract intoxicated drivers, such as the case with a student of his.

“She lost her daughter because her daughter went ahead and pulled over in the dark on the side of the road and the drunk hit her going over 70 miles per hour,” Ruhe said.

Texoma counties also account for a much higher average of deaths from not wearing a seatbelt.

In the TxDOT Wichita Falls District, which contains Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cooke, Montague, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young counties, the average is 41 percent while the rest of the state sits at only 24 percent.

“A seatbelt saved my life 27 years ago, and it saved my brain. It’s just aggravating and very sad,” Lewis said.

These statistics serve as a reminder for Texoma drivers to take every precaution this holiday weekend to avoid becoming another number.

“There is no perfect driver out there,” Ruhe said.

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