According to the executive director of a regional DUI prevention center, Sean Byrne, the single drunk driving arrest made in Enid during the New Year’s holiday is a sign that local education and prevention efforts are working. Byrne credits the the work of the Enid Police Department, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the volunteers with the Alcohol and Drug Coalition as being a major force behind the small number of drunk driving arrests and accidents over the holiday. However, drinking and driving remains a serious problem throughout Oklahoma. If you have suffered injuries in a serious Oklahoma accident caused by a drunk driver, contact our reputable attorneys at Atkins & Markoff for qualified legal guidance. You may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses.
DUI ACCIDENTS AND FATALITIES IN OKLAHOMA
“We hold our breaths every year, worried whether someone is going to be killed due to drunk driving on New Year’s Eve,” said Byrne. “When we read that there was one arrest it showed, hopefully, that people are getting the message.” Although the New Year’s holiday resulted in few DUI arrests and alcohol-related accidents in Enid, drunk driving remains a major cause of accidents, injuries and tragic loss of life throughout Oklahoma. According to Byrne, in 2011, 32% of all traffic fatalities in the state of Oklahoma were related to alcohol use.
A major concern among Oklahoma authorities is the risk associated with underage drinking parties that reportedly occurred on New Year’s Eve. According to Oklahoma’s Social Host law, if individuals under the age of 21 are drinking alcohol at a gathering, the individual who provided the location – adult or minor – is breaking the law. For this kind of offense, the “host” could face penalties ranging from a $500 fine to a felony conviction and up to five years in jail, if someone is injured or killed.
OUR KNOWLEDGEABLE ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
Preventing underage alcohol use and curbing the risk of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities in Oklahoma is a major goal of authorities across the state, and continuing education and prevention efforts appear to be working. However, in 2011, Oklahoma saw 244 alcohol-related fatalities statewide, which is close to 17% higher than the rates recorded in 2009. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Oklahoma, or if you lost a loved one in such an accident, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our knowledgeable lawyers at Atkins & Markoff to discuss your options for legal recourse and to explore your possible compensation options.