Sen. Mary Easley has authored legislation amending the definition of child endangerment to include parents or guardians knowingly letting their children ride in vehicles operated by people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 1138 Wednesday.
“To most parents, it’s common sense not to let their children get in a vehicle with someone who is drunk or impaired by another intoxicating substance, but unfortunately there are those who don’t think about the consequences,” said Easley, D-Tulsa. “This bill will help give our youngest citizens more protection against such irresponsible behavior."
Under the bill, any driver over the age of 21 who is found to have someone under the age of 18 with him or her in the vehicle while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol would be guilty of child endangerment by DUI. Those convicted could face up to double the amount of the fine imposed for the underlying DUI violation.
Any parent or guardian found under the influence of drugs or alcohol with their child in the car would be guilty of felony child endangerment, which is punishable with up to four years imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both.
SB 1138 will now await consideration by the full Senate.