Forbes Advisor recently published a study in November 2023 that placed Oklahoma among the top 10 worst-ranking states for drunk driving. The attorneys at Car Accident Help have seen the devastating impacts of drunk driving firsthand, and sadly, this statistic was not surprising to us. With decades of combined experience, we’ve represented many Oklahomans who have been the victims of car accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.
Our Oklahoma City-based team of car accident attorneys thought we’d take a look into the statistics and share about Oklahoma’s drunk driving laws. Although Car Accident Help does not defend drivers who have been charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired, we think it valuable to discuss information pertaining to drunk driving laws in Oklahoma.
You can’t usually control someone else’s actions, but you can take responsibility for yourself, so our number one advice is: if you’re drinking, don’t drive. And, if you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver, contact the Car Accident Help team.
Where Does Oklahoma Rank for Drunk Driving?
The Forbes Advisor study from late 2023 placed Oklahoma as the 10th worst state for drunk drivers. A few of the states in the bottom ten were also in the south-central region of the United States, including Texas, New Mexico, and Missouri.
Additionally, the survey conducted with the study indicated that “more than two-fifths (42.18%) of drivers have witnessed a friend or family member drive after they’ve had more than one alcoholic drink.” It’s evident that drunk driving is widespread in Oklahoma and across the country.
According to Forbes Advisor, Here are the top 10 worst states for drunk driving:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
The data from this study comes from reliable sources, including data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the FBI, the US Census Bureau, and the US Department of Transportation.
The study methodology included compiling data measuring six metrics and using the data to create a score for the overall danger of drunk driving in each state. Key metrics included the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers and the number of DUI arrests per 100,000 licensed drivers, among others.
Oklahoma Drunk Driving Crashes and Deaths Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day. That means one person every 39 minutes, and in 2021, there was a 14% increase in year-over-year alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths when compared to 2020. But what about Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports that in 2021, there were 195 people killed in alcohol-related traffic incidents. There were at least 816 accidents involving alcohol impairment, and more than 939 people were injured in these accidents. Sadly, all of these Oklahoma drunk driving accidents were preventable.
If you were one of the individuals injured in a drunk driving crash in Oklahoma, request a free case evaluation from the lawyers on the Car Accident Help team.
What is the Oklahoma Blood Alcohol Limit?
In Oklahoma, you can be considered driving while impaired (DWI) if your blood alcohol concentration is .05% to .08% and you break a traffic law while driving. If your blood alcohol concentration is higher than .08%, you could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
In Oklahoma, the Drunk Driving Prevention Act created the state’s strict zero-tolerance law. This law makes underage drinking and driving a criminal offense. Teen drivers should know that any amount of alcohol in the system of a driver under 21 will result in revoking the license of the driver.
What are Oklahoma’s Laws About Drunk Driving?
There are several “drunk driving” laws in Oklahoma concerning impaired driving or alcohol and drug-related driving. These laws are the important first step in ensuring the safety of our roadways.
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
State law defines Driving While Impaired as having an alcohol concentration over five-hundredths (0.05) but less than eight-hundredths (0.08). To be charged with DWI, you must show additional evidence that your ability to operate a vehicle creates a hazard for the public, or you must have violated a state or local law while operating the vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
You can be charged with Driving Under the Influence for several reasons in Oklahoma.
- If you are driving, operating, or in control of a vehicle and you have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of eight-hundredths (0.08) or more,
- Or if you have any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance in your blood, saliva, urine, or any other bodily fluid;
- Or if you are under the influence of any intoxicating substance other than alcohol, which may render you incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle;
- Or you are under the combined influence of alcohol and any other intoxicating substance that may render you incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Under 21
As mentioned above, in Oklahoma, there is a zero-tolerance law regarding driving under the influence for those under 21.
If an underage person is driving or in control of a vehicle and has any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood or breath or exhibits evidence of being under the influence of any other intoxicating substance, they can be charged with DUI Under 21. If convicted, they will be subject to having their license revoked and can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine for their refusal to take a test.
Aggravated Driving Under The Influence
Anyone convicted in Oklahoma of a violation of driving under the influence with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of fifteen-hundredths (0.15) or more is guilty of aggravated driving under the influence. This means additional penalties may be imposed on top of the penalties of a standard DUI.
Oklahoma Drunk Driving Penalties
In Oklahoma, there are pretty significant consequences for driving while drunk. Being arrested for drunk driving in Oklahoma can cost more than $10,000 in fines and fees.
In addition, Oklahoma laws require that drivers convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher must install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle they own or that is registered to them.
What To Do After A Drunk Driver Hits You?
If you are involved in an accident where a drunk driver hits you, or you suspect the other driver is under the influence, it’s essential to seek help.
Both you and the other driver must stay at the scene of the accident after it occurs. If they do not stay, try to remember as much information about their vehicle as possible. This information may include make, model, color, license plate number, or other distinguishing features.
We’ve previously discussed the “Dos and Don’ts” after a car accident, and we encourage you to save that article to reference after a wreck. Most importantly, when you’re in an accident, call 911 and check for injuries so you can communicate effectively with emergency services.
Find Help After A Drunk Driver Accident in Oklahoma
If you or a loved one has sustained severe or fatal injuries because of the negligent actions of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced Oklahoma attorneys at Car Accident Help are a trustworthy partner as you seek justice for the harm you have endured. Contact our team today for a free consultation.