Catching drunk drivers is one thing, but keeping them off the roads is something else entirely. That’s why closing loopholes in drunk driving law is so important. Take one loophole in Oklahoma for example: drunk drivers were able to avoid being arrested for a repeat offense because driving under the influence (DUI) cases weren’t being sent to courts of record. That means if someone is arrested in one county but decides to drink and drive in another, their case stays in a non-court of record and he or she could potentially be treated as a first time offender over and over again.
Thankfully, that’s all about to change because Oklahoma just passed House Bill 3146. The new law came into effect on November 1st, 2016, and it will move all DUI cases from municipal non-courts of record to a court of record.
Having that permanent log of DUI cases will give police the power to protect drivers in Oklahoma from repeat drunk drivers who are potentially skirting penalties. After all, wouldn’t a drunk driver rather receive a thirty day driver’s license suspension for a first offense than six months for a second? They also get to skip an ignition interlock: a penalty that would prevent them from drinking and driving over and over again. First time drunk drivers in Oklahoma aren’t required to install an ignition interlock unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .15%, but repeat offenders are, and that’s a good reason for any drunk driver to want these loopholes to remain open.
Tightening Oklahoma drunk driving law is a step in the right direction, and now lawmakers might want to move onto the possibility of lowering the BAC in which first time offenders are required to use an ignition interlock. Most all offender ignition interlock laws require anyone arrested with a BAC of .08 to take part in the program, and that single step will take even more drunk drivers off the roads in Oklahoma.