OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that changes the way motor vehicle accident deaths are handled has been signed into law.

Under current statute, once law enforcement has finished their investigation, the body of a car accident victim cannot be moved from the scene until a medical examiner has arrived and conducted their own investigation.

However, Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, says this can be a problem since there aren’t enough medical examiners for all 77 counties. As a result, he says a body may remain at the scene for hours.

Burns filed Senate Bill 1123, which would allow paramedics to transport deceased individuals to a hospital after law enforcement officers complete their investigation. Once at the hospital, the medical examiner would complete their work.

“This was a constituent request bill after a citizen was killed in a car accident but wasn’t removed from the scene for hours due to waiting for the medical examiner,” Burns said. “These families are already traumatized, and I cannot imagine the agony of seeing a loved one in these circumstances. This legislation will allow law enforcement to release the body as soon as the scene has been properly documented, expediting the process of moving a victim while preserving the dignity of all involved. This will also play a role in increasing public safety by reducing traffic backups that could cause further accidents.”

The new law will go into effect on Nov. 1.