New Law Boosts Penalties for Drunk Driving in Oklahoma

September 9, 2009

A new state law in Oklahoma provides greater protection for children endangered by drunk drivers.

Senate Bill 1139, by state Sen. Mary Easley and state Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, allows drunk drivers to face felony child-endangerment charges if children are in the vehicle. The bill was signed by Gov. Brad Henry in a special ceremonial signing this week.

“This legislation closes loopholes that have frustrated police for years and provides greater protection for children,” said McDaniel, D-Tulsa. “I am proud to have carried this bill.”

Parents who allow their children to ride with drunk drivers could also face new penalties under the law. In addition, minors can be taken into protective custody when a parent is arrested for drunken driving.

The signing ceremony was attended by several supporters, including Liz Gifford, MADD Victim Advocate present, and law enforcement officers from Tulsa and Sapulpa.

McDaniel noted that state Reps. Mark McCullough (R-Sapulpa) and Sue Tibbs (R-Tulsa) also played a large role in getting the bill through the Legislature.

“This was truly a bipartisan effort that will serve the families and children of our state,” McDaniel said.

Source: Oklahoma Legislature

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