Where oil and natural gas activity cranks up, more jobs, dollars, and tax revenue are sure to follow. That’s great news for folks living in and around Oklahoma’s SCOOP & STACK plays and they’re are seeing the benefits of that economic boost every day.
Along with that uptick comes more oilfield-related vehicles, specifically large trucks to haul all the equipment and supplies production demands. Making roadways safer takes much more than lowering speed limits. Long-term safety requires changing attitudes and raising awareness across the entire community. Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry is working side-by-side with members of local communities, law enforcement and state agencies to address concerns and plan ahead for future growth.
Safety is always the top priority in the oil and natural gas industry – a fact you’ll see in action during every step of the production process. Many oil and natural gas employees live in communities across the SCOOP and STACK and know first-hand how oilfield traffic can impact roads our families use every day.
Working Together to Make Roads Safer.
Funded and supported by the oil and natural gas industry, the Energize for Safety Coalition brought together representatives from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS), Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and local law enforcement to create a Safety Corridor on Highway 33 between Kingfisher and Watonga.
The goal of the corridor is to make the area safer by getting both industry and non-industry drivers to slow down, pay attention and wear seatbelts. While the safety corridor is in place, agencies will be working on the three “Es”: Education Engineering and Enforcement.
Education, Engineering and Enforcement.
The oil and natural gas industry is joining with state and local agencies to educate the public about how to drive safely around truck traffic. For example, because of their weight and size, trucks take longer to stop and have large blind spots.
OHP troopers make presentations to students, community groups and production companies. Those turn into dinner-table discussions and that’s where the rubber meets the road – so to speak.
“Any time we get the chance to conduct safety meetings, we go. Getting the word out helps reduce the number of accidents, so we welcome the opportunity to talk with them.”
—Kevin Edsall, Oklahoma State Trooper #406
Engineering involves physical upgrades to roadways and encompasses everything from additional signage, to potentially widening roads. And the last ‘E’, enforcement, means increased monitoring by state troopers to enforce the new rules.
The success of this effort is well worth sharing with the rest of the state. Industry leaders are meeting with officials across Oklahoma to plan ahead for other areas of increased oil and natural gas production. Former Secretary of Transportation Mike Patterson, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Rhoades and OHSO Director Paul Harris have been involved from the beginning and they summed up the transformation and what’s next for the future.
“The oil and natural gas industry actually funds the ability to deliver these programs throughout the area, which is something we’ve never seen before.”
—Paul Harris, Director of Oklahoma Highway Safety Office
“This is the first time we’ve had that kind of dialog with the energy sector. And we’re starting to have that conversation about other potential plays around the state. They’re able to help us stay ahead and that’s huge.”
—Mike Patterson, Former Secretary of Transportation & Executive Director of Oklahoma Department of Transportation
“It took the Highway Patrol, all these other agencies, the industry and everybody buying in to create this. And it’s going to be a model for what we do from here on out.
The industry has taken the stance that safety is the most important thing, who could disagree with that?”
—Rusty Rhoades, Commissioner of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety
Every Mile. Every Day. Drive Safe.
The OERB is partnering with the Energize for Safety Coalition to create educational videos, worksheets and other materials to educate the public, especially teens, about how to drive safely around trucks. Visit the new website, DriveSafeOK.com, to learn more.