When you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you have to face plenty of consequences, especially if you want to restore your driver’s license. Most of these consequences are in the form of attending classes, paying fines and having an ignition interlock installed. In states like Oklahoma, however, you may also be required to face victims who were affected by a person’s choice to drive under the influence of alcohol at a “Victim’s Impact Panel.”
Oklahoma Victim’s Impact Panels are important because plenty of DUI incidents do not involve physical harm to others, and as such, an offender may see their crime as less serious than it is. By facing victims of a DUI and their families, an offender gets a human take on the effects of their actions, the dangers of drinking and driving, and how one small choice can change lives forever. Victim’s Impact Panels also feature the perspective of a first-responder when there is an accident due to a DUI, as well as other DUI offenders that have been incarcerated for their crimes.
No matter if a person was injured during the course of a DUI, or an offender was stopped during a sobriety checkpoint, drinking and driving is dangerous. It is estimated that for each DUI conviction a person has, they have driven under the influence of alcohol around 80 times previously. That’s 80 chances to put the lives of others in danger; to create victims of a preventable crime.
With programs like ignition interlock installations, substance abuse treatment and Victim’s Impact Panels, less people are continuing to drink and drive in Oklahoma and across the U.S. Taking away the choice to drive under the influence and educating people about the real life possibilities of a decision to drink and drive are effectively creating safer roads and lifestyles for us all.