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Oklahoma Driving and Traffic Laws

The traffic laws that guide the way you must drive are specific to each state. In Oklahoma, there are three specific subsections into which the state's traffic laws are classified; drinking and driving, basic traffic law infraction, and legal documentation to operate a vehicle. For most motorists, a considerable amount of time has passed since he or she studied the Oklahoma Driver's License Manual that one needs to study in order to obtain his or her license. Much of the helpful information in this booklet will have been forgotten. However, by brushing up on your knowledge, you can identify risky behaviors that you may not be aware you engage in. Education about your state's local traffic laws will allow you to modify your behavior and therefore decrease the chances you may have of accumulating a ticket or being involved in a collision.

It is common knowledge among motorists that drinking and driving is a "big no-no". It is strictly prohibited by law for an Oklahoma motorist to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle on public roads, interstates, or highways while under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances. If you are caught doing so, even for your first offense, you can punished by a sentence of up to one year in jail and a thousand dollar fine. If you are convicted of a second offense in Oklahoma, you can be punished by a maximum of five years in jail and a five thousand dollar fine. The penalties for your third conviction can constitute a maximum sentence of ten years in jail and fines of up to five thousand dollars. You are considered to be under the influence and unfit to operate a vehicle if your blood alcohol content is over .15. Clearly, the risks associated with driving while intoxicated outweigh any benefit you may perceive.

While traffic laws vary from state to state, in Oklahoma, there are four main offenses that are considered to be fineable: speeding, running a red light or stop sign, making an illegal u-turn, and leaving the scene of an accident. Under state law, the Oklahoma State Highway Commission or local authorities have the right to determine the speed limit for their roads or interstates within their jurisdiction. Official signs may be erected by said departments to direct the speed and movement of traffic, and drivers must obey the directions of every such sign. If you choose to disregard the signs, you will be subjected to the fines and other punishments predetermined by the authorities within their municipalities, all the way up to the revocation of your license. In the matter of speeding and running a red light or stop sign, the perpetrator will not be punished if official signs are not their proper position and sufficiently visible. In regards to the running of a stop sign, a driver must obey the instructions of any official traffic control device unless otherwise directed by a police officer. Any violator of such a law will be susceptible to the fines and penalties of the particular municipality.

Regarding illegal u-turns, if a driver is turning right, the approach and execution of the turn should be made as closely as possible to the right hand curb or edge of the highway. When making a left hand turn, the driver should approach an intersection or turn in the extreme left hand lane. Authorities, in their respective jurisdictions, shall place markers in signs in an intersection marking what turns and maneuvers are allowed. Each driver is required to obey said signs. Leaving the scene of an accident in Oklahoma can result in serious penalties for a motorist. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, that results in an injury or death, shall, by the quickest means available to them, report the accident to the policy or nearest emergency services center. The motorist who fails to comply with this statue, albeit willfully, maliciously, or felonious, shall be determined as guilty of a felony crime after conviction. The punishment for such an act in Oklahoma will result in no less than one year in jail (up to a maximum of ten years) and a fine of one thousand dollars (not to exceed ten thousand dollars).

There are several pieces of documentation that a motorist in Oklahoma must maintain in order to drive legally. The first and most important piece of documentation you must have is your driver's license. For motorists who are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, the penalties can be quite stiff. The state law in Oklahoma also requires a minimum form of liability insurance to be held by its motorists. This form of coverage is often referred to as the 10/20/10 limits for the state. Translated, this means that a motorist must have a policy with a minimum of $10,000 of bodily injury protection, a maximum of $20,000 for all parties involved in the collision, and $10,000 in property damage liability. A motorist in Oklahoma can opt out of purchasing insurance through a traditional provider by purchasing a certificate of self insurance. This requires a deposit of $35,000 dollars with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. If a motorist who is involved in a collision cannot meet the burden of proof for financial responsibility within ten days of the accident, he or she can be subjected to the revocation of his or her license and registration, including the registration of all vehicles in the driver's name. In the event that you are caught driving with a revoked registration, the penalties are similar to those of being caught driving without insurance. Additionally, if you are a non-resident of the state who is convicted of either crime, your driving privileges within the state shall be revoked.

Others infractions that can occur under Oklahoma law that you should be aware of include unlawful vehicle modifications, seatbelt violations, and mechanical violations. The definition of what state law considers to be an unlawful vehicle modification is somewhat hazy. However, it does include tampering with headlights, taillights, and turn signals. One is also discouraged from modifying the mirrors or reflectors on an operating vehicle. The consequences of such a violation are generally confined to fines, but may include the impoundment of your vehicle for repeated violators. Likewise, seatbelts are prohibited from being modified. Each motorist is required to wear his or her seatbelt unless prohibited by medical reason. If you have such an exemption, it will be noted on your driver's license.

In Oklahoma, it is a misdemeanor offense for a motorist to drive a vehicle that is known to be unsafe to the point that it can injure someone. The same can be said for driving a vehicle that is known not to contain all the parts required by state law (Section 47-12-101) or is not equipped with all headlights, seatbelts, or other equipment as laid out by law. There is a provision in the law to exclude cars that are registered as classics or antiques with the Oklahoma Department of Motor Vehicles. It is illegal to sell such a car in the state unless you provide written notification to a potential buyer.

The laws that govern a state's motor vehicles are put into place to protect you and other motorists alike. Despite knowing the penalties for breaking such laws, there are motorists who continue to disregard them. In order to provide yourself with a suitable defense against their offense, you must thoroughly educate yourself about the laws in Oklahoma.

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