OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Mary Fallin has signed The Erin Swezey Act into law. Thursday, the governor approved Senate Bill 529 which is named for the 20-year-old Oklahoma State University student from Edmond who was killed in 2009 by a drunk driver with numerous DUI arrests and convictions.
"Public Safety is a top priority for Oklahoma, and I believe the Erin Swezey Act will help us save lives," Fallin said. "My own daughter is only a little bit older than Erin would have been. My heart goes out to the Swezeys and all Oklahomans who've been victims of drunk drivers. I'm proud to support legislation that will help us prevent such tragedies."
Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, is principal author of SB 529. He said the bill was requested by Erin's parents, Keith and Dixie Swezey.
"I am extremely grateful to Governor Fallin for her support of this measure, and to my House author, Representative Jason Nelson, for all of his hard work securing passage of the Erin Swezey Act," Jolley said. "I also want to express my thanks to Keith and Dixie for bringing this important issue to the forefront, and having the courage to fight for it so that other parents will be spared their loss."
As of November 1, 2011, an interlock device will be required for 18 months on a first conviction for those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher. For a second or subsequent offense, the interlock will be mandatory for those with a BAC of .08 for a period of four years, and for five years on subsequent offenses. Under the new law, those convicted will have the designation "Interlock Required" on the face of their driver licenses as long as they're required to have an interlock device.
"Arizona has a similar law and they've reduced drunk driving deaths by 46 percent," said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. "I know we will save lives in Oklahoma as well."
Speaking on behalf of his wife Dixie, Keith Swezey said they were elated that the Erin Swezey Act has been signed into law.
"We are so thankful to Governor Fallin for signing this bill, and to Senator Jolley and Representative Nelson who made its passage a reality," Swezey said. "The glory belongs to God. We give thanks to Him for our beautiful daughter, and for the enactment of this law which honors her life by helping protect other innocent Oklahomans."