Bill addressing adults providing alcohol to minors clears committee

Mike Seals - February 9, 2021 10:33 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Michael Brooks, D-OKC, has authored legislation to help better protect Oklahoma’s youth by strengthening the punishment for adults convicted of knowingly selling or providing alcohol to minors. Senate Bill 283 would require such individuals to attend a victims impact panel program in addition to current penalties—a requirement already in place for those convicted of DUIs.

This is the third year Brooks has filed the bill. It was requested by a Southeast High School government class participating in the Generation Citizen Project who are tired of watching adults provide alcohol to their peers.

“I was so inspired by these students who shared a horrifying, but all too common, story about a graduation party they attended where adults were giving alcohol to minors. Unlike the adults, the students were disturbed by the situation and extremely concerned for the safety of their friends who ended up drinking and driving because the adults illegally provided them alcohol,” Brooks said. “We need parents and adults to really think about what they’re doing. This may make them feel cool or important, but there is absolutely nothing cool about burying a loved one who is killed in a drunk driving accident.”

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.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, ages 15-20. In 2018, 24% of those killed in car crashes were drunk. The NHTSA also found that in 2013, 42% of drivers with alcohol-related deaths were ages 16-24.

SB 283 is supported by the Victims Impact Panel of Oklahoma, the state’s largest panel, and Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The bill passed the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously and will next be heard by the full Senate.

 

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