MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Columns

December 5, 2009

Don’t let holiday celebration include drinking, driving

Throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays, many Oklahomans will be attending parties and gatherings to share the joy of the season with friends and family. Many of these social activities will include alcohol, which is fine when individuals drink responsibly and have designated drivers, but they can lead to horrible outcomes if not.

Every year, we pass more and more legislation in an effort to deter people from driving drunk. Last session, we passed SB 1138 which amends the definition of child endangerment to include parents or guardians knowingly letting their children ride in vehicles operated by people, including themselves, who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The bill was requested by 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 0.13. Of those adults involved, 68 percent survived, but the children were killed. 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.

Every year we try to do all we can to discourage people from driving drunk. The legal trouble a drunk driver faces pales in comparison to the impact one drunk driving accident can have on innocent people. Cars can be fixed, fines can be paid, time and community service can be done, but a life taken in an accident cannot be replaced.

Text Only
Columns
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks