Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: May 12, 2009
Sen. Mary Easley
Easley’s Bill to Protect Children Signed into Law
A bill strengthening penalties against parents caught
driving drunk with their children in the vehicle has become law.
Easley is the Senate principal author of SB 1138 which amends
the definition of child endangerment to include parents or guardians
knowingly letting their children ride in vehicles operated by
people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“It seems like commonsense that parents wouldn’t risk
the health of their kids by driving around drunk with them in
the car or letting them ride with others that were, but unfortunately
not everyone makes responsible choices,” said Easley, D-Tulsa.
“We must protect our youngest citizens by strengthening
our laws on child endangerment to help stop or at least deter
this type of dangerous behavior, while at the same time holding
these adults responsible.”
SB 1138 was a request bill from Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(MADD), which found that 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, but the children
Under the new law, which became effective immediately when the
Governor signed it, any driver over the age of 18 who is found
to have a minor in the vehicle while being under the influence
of drugs or alcohol will be guilty of child endangerment by DUI.
Those convicted will face double the amount of the fine imposed
for the underlying DUI violation.
Any parent or guardian found under the influence of drugs or alcohol
with their child in the car will be guilty of felony child endangerment,
which is punishable with up to four years imprisonment, a fine
of $5,000 or both.
SB 1138 also provides an affirmative defense to a contempt of
court proceeding in a divorce or custody action for any person
who refuses to allow his or her child to be transported by an
For more information contact:
Sen. Easley's Office - 405-521-5590