Repeat DUI offenders may lose more than their licenses the next time they drive drunk. They could also lose their car if legislation approved by the Oklahoma State Senate today ultimately becomes law.
"I don¹t think seizing a repeat DUI offender's car is too much of a punishment to exact, especially when you consider the thousands of Oklahomans whose lives have been shattered by drunk drivers. We need to send the message that if you drink and drive in Oklahoma, you'll not only lose your license, you might lose your car as well," said Senator Kevin Easley, author of SB 423.
Modeled after a similar law in Tennessee, the legislation would allow authorities to seize the vehicles of two-time DUI offenders. The bill has been dubbed "Greg's Law" in memory of Tulsa teenager Greg Gifford. Gifford was killed by a repeat DUI offender in Tulsa two years ago.
"I took up this cause on behalf of Greg and his family, but it's really about all of the Oklahomans who have been touched by a drunk driving tragedy. There are thousands of innocent people who might still be alive today had we taken the drunk driver's weapon away from him when we had the chance," said Senator Easley.
"Handing the car keys to a repeat drunk driver is like handing a gun to a convicted killer. If we take their keys and their car away, we will save lives. I don't have any doubt about that."
This is the second year that the Tulsa area legislator has pushed for passage of "Greg's Law." Last year, the measure fell a few votes short in the State House during the final week of session. Senator Easley is hoping for better success this time, noting that House committees have already approved several pieces of legislation cracking down on DUI offenders.
"I think the time is right for 'Greg's Law.' Our society has decided that it's not going to tolerate drunk driving and the Legislature is acting accordingly. If we're really serious about carrying out the people's will, we'll put 'Greg's Law' on the books once and for all," said Senator Easley.
The next stop for SB 423 is a House committee.