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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2008

Senator Debbe Leftwich
Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Full Senate Approves Stiffer Penalties for Unlicensed Drivers Causing Injury/Fatality Accidents

An unlicensed driver who causes an injury or fatality accident would face stiffer penalties under legislation approved by the full Senate. State Sen. Debbe Leftwich is author of Senate bill 1599, which was approved unanimously on Tuesday.

“Last summer, there were two accidents in my district, each involving a person driving with a suspended license. In each accident a child died,” Leftwich said. “I was shocked to learn the most those drivers could be charged with was a misdemeanor. That’s barely a slap on the wrist.”

Under Leftwich’s bill, an individual knowingly driving with a license that had been suspended, revoked, canceled or denied could be charged with a felony. If convicted, they could serve up to seven years in prison.

“We’re talking about people who know they are not supposed to get behind the wheel, but they go ahead and drive anyway,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Unfortunately, sometimes these individuals cause very serious accidents, but under current law, there are no serious consequences for their actions. That’s got to change.”

The measure will now be sent to the House of Representatives for committee consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office:  (405) 521-5557

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