OK:  Oklahoma bill increases punishment for adults who provide alcohol to minors

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

OK:  Oklahoma bill increases punishment for adults who provide alcohol to minors

News 8

by Cassidy Mudd, KTUL Staff

April 28th 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KTUL) — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation Tuesday that increases punishment for adults who knowingly sell or provide alcohol to minors.

Senate Bill 283 will require those convicted to attend a victims impact panel program, along with other current penalties.

Sen. Michael Brooks said the legislation was originally requested by an Oklahoma City High School, who had participated in the Generation Citizen Project.

“There is nothing more powerful and heartbreaking than hearing stories of loved ones killed or injured by drunk or impaired drivers,” Brooks said in a news release. “Attending these panels is already required for those convicted of DUIs, and it’s proven successful in lowering the number of repeat offenses, which is my hope with those who are unnecessarily putting minors in danger.”

The in-person presentation panel features speakers sharing their experience on how impaired driving has impacted themselves, their families, and their community.

“After three years of working on this issue, I’m beyond grateful for the overwhelming support of this bill,” Brooks said. “I want to again thank the Southeast High School students for bringing this important issue to my attention. Hopefully, parents and adults will realize the dangers of underage drinking and stop putting our youth at risk.”

Victims impact panels are live presentations featuring speakers sharing how impaired driving has impacted them and their families. Panels are done in person to ensure a greater impact and to foster awareness of the dangers of irresponsible decisions regarding alcohol and drugs.

Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, carried the measure in the House.

“As a former police officer, I’ve seen first-hand the devastation and loss caused by drunk driving,” Ford said. “Making adults aware of the potential harm of their decision to give alcohol to minors will hopefully save lives.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged between 15 and 20.

In 2018, the NHTSA found that 24% of those killed in car crashes were drunk.

“After three years of working on this issue, I’m beyond grateful for the overwhelming support of this bill,” Brooks said. “Hopefully, parents and adults will realize the dangers of underage drinking and stop putting our youth at risk.”

The new law is set to go into effect the first of Nov. 1, 2021, and is supported by the state’s largest panels, the Victims Impact Panel of Oklahoma, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.