Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 24, 2011
Sen. Clark Jolley
‘Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act’ heads to Senate floor
The Senate Public Safety Committee gave unanimous
approval to a measure that could save lives by strengthening the
state’s DUI laws. Senate Bill 529, the “Erin Elizabeth
Swezey Act” is authored by Sen. Clark Jolley.
“Right now in Oklahoma, judges have the option of whether
or not to require an interlock device in convictions of driving
while intoxicated or driving under the influence. The man who killed
Erin Swezey had numerous driving while suspended, driving while
revoked and other DUI convictions on his record. This bill will
require judges to make offenders like him have an interlock device
on their first conviction,” said Jolley.
Under the bill, anyone convicted of DUI would be required to have
an ignition interlock device for two years on their first offense,
five years on the second offense, and eight year on all subsequent
offenses. In addition, the words “DUI conviction” would
be on their driver license during the period the interlock device
On April 4, 2009, 20-year-old Erin Swezey, was hit and killed by
a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than three
times the legal limit. The driver, a 32-year-old metro man, had
just rear-ended another car. In an attempt to flee that accident,
he turned his vehicle around and began driving over 100 miles per
hour on the wrong side of the Kilpatrick Turnpike, hitting Erin’s
car head-on. He also died in the collision.
Erin’s parents, Keith and Dixie Swezey attended the committee
meeting, and Keith addressed the committee.
“There are fewer DUI deaths in states that have ignition interlock
laws. The state of Arizona has had a 40 percent decrease since they
passed their driving interlock law,” explained Swezey. “Oklahoma
now is only one of seven states where DUI deaths have not gone down
in the last ten years. In 2009, more people died in DUI accidents
than were murdered in Oklahoma. We need this law.”
Jolley also explained the benefits of having one’s license
branded with the DUI conviction notice.
“Officers aren’t required to run someone’s license
during every traffic stop. For minor violations, like going a little
over the speed limit, they normally just ask to see the license,”
said Jolley. “By having that notice on the license, officers
would know instantly that the person must have an interlock device
in their car and if they didn’t, it would be an automatic
Jolley went on to say that it would also help provide notice to
employers, rental car businesses and other who do not have the ability
to do the national background search that is available to law enforcement
officers. Requiring businesses to run national background checks
on their employees would be an unnecessary financial burden, Jolley
explained, when that information could simply be put on an individual’s
license for businesses to check.
“I want to thank Keith and Dixie Swezey. They are sharing
a very tragic day in their life but their belief is that this will
save hundreds of lives every year like Erin’s. I want to thank
them for their courage and their willingness to do this,”
SB 529 will next be heard by the full Senate.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Clark Jolley, 405-521-5622