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

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For Immediate Release: February 19, 2009

Sen. Debbe Leftwich
Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Senate Committee Approves Measure to Strengthen Penalties Against
Unlicensed Drivers in Injury/Fatality Accidents

The full Senate is the next stop for legislation cracking down on unlicensed drivers who hurt or kill someone while behind the wheel. State Sen. Debbe Leftwich is the author of Senate Bill 1170, which increases the penalty for a person who causes the injury or death of a person while driving with a license that has been suspended, revoked, canceled or denied. The measure was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

“I’ve had two fatality accidents in my district, both involving children who were killed because people who had lost their licenses decided to get behind the wheel anyway,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Relatives of the victims were even more upset when they found out that under the current law, the most those drivers could be charged with was a misdemeanor. It is obvious we need to strengthen the penalty and ensure we have a way to get these dangerous drivers off the street.”

Under SB 1170, an individual knowingly driving with a license that had been suspended, revoked, canceled or denied could be charged with a felony, and if convicted, could serve up to five years in prison. Similar legislation was approved last year, but was not signed by the governor.

“We’ve worked with the governor’s staff this year to make revisions they felt would improve the bill, so I’m hopeful this session we will succeed in getting this measure signed into law.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Leftwich's Office: 405-521-5557

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