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Oklahoma’s Drunk Driving Realities

Tulsa residents should be aware of the serious dangers they face on the roads due to the actions and decisions of drunk drivers.

Tulsa residents are far from immune to the problems experienced around the country due to drunk drivers. News headlines report about crashes and the serious and even fatal injuries that innocent victims sustain all too frequently.

Two recent such stories include the death of a 37-year old mother of two from Tulsa. According to Newson6.com, the driver who is allegedly responsible for the crash was booked into Tulsa County Jail on charges including driving under the influence, manslaughter and failing to stop at a stop sign. The victim’s funeral was held on the day that she was supposed to have married her fiancé.

A News9.com story highlights that drunk driving victims are not always in other vehicles. A Ford Focus reportedly ran a stop sign on Oklahoma Highway 81 and hit another vehicle. Two of the passengers in the Focus were pronounced dead at the crash scene and another was taken to the hospital in critical condition. According to the story, the driver is believed to have been intoxicated at the time.

A broader look at the dangers in Oklahoma

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2013 show that Tulsa County lost more lives in drunk driving crashes than any other Oklahoma County. Specific data includes:

  • Statewide, 170 people died in accidents involving alcohol.
  • In Tulsa County, 22 people died in accidents involving alcohol.
  • In Oklahoma County, 14 people died in accidents involving alcohol.
  • Delaware County had the third most number of deaths due to drunk driving accidents with seven such fatalities.

The 2012 Century Council data also highlights the dangers of those persons who drive drunk with extreme blood alcohol levels. In Oklahoma, drivers in almost 79 percent of fatal drunk driving crashes had BAC levels over 0.14 percent. The legal limit for intoxication is 0.08 percent. Repeat offenders involved in fatal crashes were found to have BAC levels over 0.14 percent in 90 percent of cases.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma law classifies offenses with BAC levels over 0.15 percent as aggravated driving.

Can ignition interlock devices help?

Persons convicted of aggravated driving offenses can be required to install and use an ignition interlock device for at least 30 days. When an IID is ordered, the driver is given a new license that stipulates the requirement of the IID clearly.

First offenses can result in the required use of an IID for 18 months. Second offenses of drunk driving can find drivers required to use IIDs for four years. If convicted drivers’ license suspension periods are different, that can alter the length of time that they must use the IIDs.

What can Tulsa residents do?

Perhaps the most important thing for any Tulsa resident to do is to be prepared to get help. Contacting a lawyer after a drunk driving accident is always recommended.