Lawmaker proposing harsher punishment for DUI offenders

OKLAHOMA - An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to toughen the punishment for those who decide to drink and drive.

All too often, loved ones are killed in DUI-related crashes.

“It could happen tomorrow to any of us, you know, one of your family members or you get hit by a drunk driver and your world’s turned upside down,” said Rep. John Enns.

The world certainly changed for the family and friends of two beloved Oklahoma women.

In 2013, 58-year-old Debra Reed was killed on her way home from work.

The UCO adjunct professor was hit by a 20-year-old woman whose blood alcohol level was over two times the legal limit.

It was her second DUI offense.

Just this past New Year's Eve, mother of two Amanda 'Mandy' Starkey-Carson was also killed by a repeat DUI offender.

“When somebody goes out, and drinks and drives, they can destroy a family, and it’s heinous to me,” Enns said.

He said the 'Debra Reed and Amanda Carson Act' would make it more difficult for alcohol abusers to get their hands on a drink.

“If you’re over 21 and you get a DUI, then you have to get a new license, driver’s license that’s stamped with alcohol restricted and, if you try to buy alcohol and they card you or somebody tries to give you alcohol and they know that you are alcohol restricted, then they can get a felony,” Enns said.

Those who are alcohol restricted would not be able to buy alcohol for three years.

For offenders under 21, their license would be revoked until they are of age and an interlock device would be installed in their car.

Some argue the proposal would cost the state more money and is too harsh for first-time offenders.

“If you can’t handle the awesome responsibility of driving, and then you go out and drink, then you shouldn’t be able to drink,” Enns said.

As for the alcohol-restricted stamped licenses, Enns said the offenders would have to pay for those.

DPS would have to buy the equipment make them, though.

The House is expected to hear the bill soon.

We will let you know what happens.