OHP To Start Aggressively Enforcing New, Heavier Traffic Laws

Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 10:27 pm
By: News On 6

The grace period is over for an Oklahoma law many drivers didn't even know existed.

The highway patrol says it will now start enforcing the law that targets reckless drivers and carries with it big consequences.

This law went into effect in November 2011, toughening the penalties for certain traffic violations.

If you are caught, your license will be revoked for an entire year. Oklahoma wants to put the brakes on reckless driving.

"On new traffic laws, we usually do give a break-in period for people before we heavily start aggressively enforcing it," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown.

The law's been on the books for 14 months, but many drivers aren't aware of it.

"No, I've never heard of it, I'm surprised I've never heard of it," said Tulsa driver Vikki Calvert.

Under the law, your license will be revoked if you are convicted of any of these violations: Reckless driving without regard for others' safety, ignoring a traffic signal or stop sign when it results in a serious injury crash, and failure to stop for a school bus loading and unloading.

"Some of the most deadly crashes we work involve those three offenses, reckless driving obviously," Brown said.

1/14/2013 Related Story: Speeders Beware, Tulsa Police Step Up Enforcement On Broken Arrow Expressway

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says there are a lot of misconceptions about reckless driving.

It doesn't just mean someone is driving 100 miles per hour.

"Most of what we see are speeding combined with tailgating, or inattentive driving, or failure to signal; usually doing two or three offenses that make it reckless for everyone around you," Brown said.

Vikki Calvert agrees reckless driving is a problem, but has a question: "Who would decide that? If it would be a court or if it would be the police officer that stopped you?"

It's up to the officer or trooper to decide what's reckless, but every violator still has his day in court.

The school bus stop violation is clear, you cannot pass a bus when the red lights come on and the stop signs pop out.

"It continues to be a problem, so now we have something with a little bit of bite that people really need to take a second thought before they want to run past a school bus," Brown said.

Remember, the license revocation is added onto existing penalties of a $249 fine, and there are no exceptions to that suspension.