New laws mean harsher penalties for Oklahoma drivers

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ARDMORE, OK - Oklahoma will have 186 new laws go into affect Tuesday that cover many issues but for drivers it is going to be a tough road.

One of them has to do with driving under the influence.

Drivers with a blood alcohol content of .15 or over will be required to install a ignition interlock device for 18 months after their drivers license is reinstated.

"It's going to require them to give a breath sample before their car ever starts," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Ronnie Hampton said. "So it is tightening down, that is already a requirement for second time offenders but now its been extended as of tomorrow it could be applied to first time offenders."

Second time offenders will have the interlock in their vehicle for three years after the reissuing of their license and five years for third time offenders.

The second law has to do with school bus safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and school administrators said vehicles not stopping for buses with flashing lights is a growing problem.

"I have children that go to the middle school and elementary school and I see cars going the wrong way going around the buses with the stop signs out and its very dangerous," Jefferson Elementary School teacher Susan Hartman said.

Chris Kennedy with the Ardmore Public School said on average his school bus drivers write up five citations a week and turn them over to police and they issue the citation.

Captain Ronnie Hampton with the OHP said some drivers may not even know the laws of stopping.

"Unless there is a seperate grass median or a barrier such as a concrete wall down the center of the road, when a school bus stops, the emergency lights are flashing the stop signs out, traffic moving both directions are required to come to a stop," Captain Hampton said.

Oklahoma drivers who do not follow this, could lose their license for a year and the OHP wants drivers to know they are watching.

"We have gone out with undercover cars and followed school buses and every time we come across someone who breaks the law," Captain Hampton said. "Very rarely, hardly ever,do we issue warnings for that."

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