Online Auto Insurance: New Okla. Law Should Help Deter Drunken Driving

November 09, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
A new law that stiffens penalties for Oklahomans convicted of drunken driving should convince motorists who are considering getting behind the wheel the next time they have one too many to think again, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

Crashes that involve driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs kill thousands of people nationwide each year and rack up millions of dollars in damages. And serious legal and financial repercussions face those who are found guilty of DUI, including steep fines, license suspension and jail time, plus the fact that finding inexpensive auto insurance is far more difficult with a DUI conviction on your record.

The new legislation-called the Erin Swezey Act, in honor of a University of Oklahoma student killed by a drunken driver in 2009-took effect Nov. 1. Among its toughest provisions is the requirement that anyone found guilty of impaired driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or higher must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle at their expense and must use it for 18 months.

The devices require drivers to submit to BAC measurement by blowing into a tube before they can start the car. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle won't start.

Drivers who are convicted of a second DUI with a BAC of at least 0.08-the level above which motorists are automatically considered under the influence-must use an interlock for four years, and any subsequent offense means the device must be utilized for five years.

According to federal safety officials, 10,839 people died in alcohol-related vehicle crashes nationwide in 2009, a 7.4 percent reduction from the previous year.


Law enforcement and safety experts attribute the decrease to tougher DUI laws enacted in recent years, including those that mandate use of ignition interlocks.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 48 states have interlock laws on the books.

Authorities say that many drivers involved in fatal crashes involving alcohol have been arrested previously for drunken driving.

Ignition interlock devices are seen as a good way to ensure that those who have gotten into trouble before for mixing drinking and driving do not repeat the mistake.

To learn more about this and other safety and insurance issues, readers can go to where they will find informative resource pages and a free-to-use rate-comparison generator.