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When driving in Oklahoma, it is never safe to drink before getting behind the wheel. Some drivers feel the effects of alcohol after just one drink and may be unsafe on the road, even with a blood alcohol level way under the legal limit. The fines and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe and expensive. Abstinence from drugs and alcohol before driving makes good sense for everyone and saves lives.
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Basic DUI Laws for Oklahoma
Drivers in Oklahoma are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle if they have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Additionally, the state imposes lower limits for commercial drivers and underage drivers. Oklahoma also supports the implied consent law. This law says drivers have given their implied consent to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs in their system if requested by a peace officer. Individuals must provide a breath, blood or urine sample and if they choose not to, can be sentenced to fines and penalties similar to those from a DUI conviction. Additionally, their refusal may be used as evidence in court.
Penalties Associated with a DUI in Oklahoma
For a first offender, DUI penalties consist of a 30-day license suspension, minimum $300 DUI fine and additional fines of up to $1,000, or possibly double that amount if the driver had a child under age 18 in the vehicle when he was arrested. Jail time ranges from 10 days to 12 months, or up to 4 years if a child under age 18 was in the car. Additionally, the person must attend and participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program.
For second offenders, jail time increases to 1 to 5 years, with a license suspension of 6 months. Fines may be up to $2,500 or double if caught with a child under 18 in the vehicle. Additionally, attendance is required in a drug and alcohol treatment program, and drivers will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Ignition Interlock Device
The ignition interlock device works like a breathalyzer to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content. The unit is installed in the driver’s vehicle, and the driver must exhale into the device to operate the car. If the driver’s BAC is greater than .02% to .04%, the device will prevent the engine from starting. Additionally, after the engine has been started, the device will randomly require the driver to breathe into it again. This prevents drivers from having someone else breathe into the device before they drive away. If the unit detects alcohol in the person’s breath, an alarm will sound such as the horn honking or lights flashing. This continues until the engine is turned off, and the device will also log the event. Authorities may review the machine’s log periodically, and assign additional sanctions if any violations show up.
Oklahoma DUI Legislation
In 2010, Oklahoma’s governor signed a bill, the Aaron Gillming act, into law. The act mandates that drivers with a DUI conviction, even their first one, must attend and participate in an evaluation and assessment program for drugs and alcohol abuse.
DUI Accident Rates in Oklahoma
Oklahoma had 738 traffic fatalities in 2009. Of those, only 240 happened in cities, while the remaining 438 took place in rural areas of the state. Out of all accident fatalities, 235 involved a driver with a BAC at or above the .08 legal limit. To compare Oklahoma’s fatality statistics with the average for the U.S. as a whole, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculated the number of alcohol-related deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). With the data viewed this way, Oklahoma’s alcohol-related traffic fatalities were higher than the national average, at .50 per 100 million VMT, versus .37 for the Unites States as a whole.
SR-22 Requirements in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is one of the few states that does not require SR-22 insurance. Individuals required to carry SR-22 insurance in another state that have relocated to Oklahoma must continue to maintain their SR-22 coverage for the entire 3-year period, or their license will be suspended. Information on suspended licenses, among other violations, is shared among all 50 states. Any driver with a suspended license will not be granted a new driver’s license in any other state.
Effects of a DUI on the Cost of Car Insurance
Insurance costs are based on many different factors, with one of the more important ones being a person’s driving history. Any violation on a person’s driving record will increase his auto insurance premiums, as insurance companies will place him in a higher risk category. A DUI conviction generally results in several points on a driver’s history, and DUI convictions stay on a driver’s record for 5 to 10 years in some states, and permanently in others. The impact of a DUI on insurance premiums will lessen over time, but drivers should expect insurance to be more costly for at least the next three to four years.
Oklahoma Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers
One of the good things about car insurance after a DUI is that insurance companies still have to compete for business, which means they do their best to keep premiums down, regardless of a person’s driving history. Each insurance company also uses its own internal formula for calculating premiums, placing different weights on various factors. This means that the same person getting different quotes from several companies will find a decent degree of variation in price quotes. Finding the cheapest insurance is easy once you get several quotes. Many of the larger insurance companies that specialize in providing insurance for high-risk drivers are licensed to sell insurance in Oklahoma. Progressive Insurance, Allstate and Liberty Mutual Insurance all provide high risk car insurance but you need to shop around to find the best rates.
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