OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A State Senate committee passed a bill to strengthen punishment for adults who are convicted of knowingly selling or providing alcohol to minors.
Senate Bill 283, written by Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, seeks to require those convicted to attend a victims impact panel program in addition to current penalties, according to a Senate Communications Division news release.
The Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously passed the bill. It will next be heard by the full State Senate.
The victims impact panel program requirement is already imposed in Oklahoma on those convicted of driving under the influence.
Brooks filed the bill on two previous years after 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 held live and features speakers who discuss how impaired driving has impacted them and their families. The panels are done live to foster awareness of the dangers created by irresponsible decisions regarding alcohol and drugs.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, ages 15-20. Twenty-four percent of those killed in car crashes in 2018 were drunk. The NHTSA also found that 42 percent of drivers with alcohol-related deaths in 2013 were ages 16-24.
Victims Impact Panel of Oklahoma, the state’s largest panel, and Mother Against Drunk Driving support the bill.