Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 12, 2009
Sen. Mary Easley
Senate Passes Measure to Protect Children from Drunk Drivers
The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation
Thursday to provide better protection to Oklahoma's children.
Easley authored Senate Bill 1138 amending the definition of
children endangerment to include parents or guardians who knowingly
let their children ride in vehicles operated by people who are
under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
"It's sad and unfortunate that we have parents out there
who aren't responsible enough to realize how dangerous it is to
let their children ride with people who are impaired by drugs
or alcohol," said Easley. "Obviously, our current laws
aren't tough enough because we keep seeing cases where children
are getting killed or hurt because they're in these situations.
It's my hope and prayer that increasing these penalties will stop
or at least deter this type of irresponsible behavior."
Under the bill, any driver age 21 or over found to be under the
influence of drugs or alcohol with someone under the age of 18
in the vehicle will be charged with child endangerment by DUI.
If convicted, the penalty could be up to double the amount of
the fine imposed by the underlying DUI violation.
Any parent or guardian found under the influence of drugs or alcohol
with their child in the car would be guilty of felony child endangerment,
which is punishable with up to four years imprisonment, a fine
of $5,000 or both.
SB 1138 was a request bill from Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(MADD). According to the organization, 68 percent of the children
who died in alcohol related crashes between 1997 and 2002 were
riding with an adult who had a median Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
of .13. Of those adults involved, 68 percent survived although
the children were killed.
The House is the next stop for SB 1138.
For more information contact:
Sen. Easley's Office: 405-521-5590