Tulsa’s Youthful Drunk Driving Program
When we’re young, we make many mistakes. For some, that mistake is a DUI, which can have enduring impacts long past the age of indiscretion. To give young offenders a second chance, Tulsa County has come up with a program that focuses on young people who get DUI’s, helps prevent future incidents, and removes the case from their record upon successful completion of the program.
You must be between the ages of 16 and 25, and it must be your first DUI to participate in the program.
Primarily, the program involves a lot of classes. Students must also take a drug and alcohol assessment, go to DUI school, and participate in a victims Impact panel as required for all DUIs by statute. However, in addition to those classes, Students have 3 “field trips” and 3 500 word essays about those field trips that they must complete.
Their first trip is to a funeral home. Prior to the class, students are given a take home assignment that a parent or loved one must complete to write a mock eulogy for the student. They then go into the funeral home and read the mock eulogy aloud.
The second field trip is to an emergency room. While at the emergency room, students see first hand the injuries suffered by intoxicated drivers and innocent bystanders who are hit by intoxicated drivers.
The final field trip is to a rehabilitation center. This can look different depending on when they visit. In one instance, participants saw the effects of an individual with a brain injury after being hit by a drunk driver. The student also got an opportunity to hear about the surgery that person had to endure, and see the utensils used during the surgery.
After completing all of these classes, the student must write an essay on each one. Each essay must be 500 words and detail both the experience and the effect the experience had on them.
Many times, the program includes speakers who warn about the effects of drunk driving. As an example, one year’s speaker talked to the group about how he was in college and had a detailed plan for how he wanted his life to be, but then killed someone in a drunk driving accident. He was sent to prison, and his life will never be the same.
There is no doubt that the Youthful Drunk Driving Program is a lot of work and can be very emotional for both the student and their family. However, it has an excellent success rate. It also provides a full expungement for the student once they successfully complete the program. This allows them to move forward with their life without the stigma of a conviction of their record.
Not every county has a Youthful Drunk Driving program. Tulsa’s program provides a valuable opportunity for young offenders to learn from their mistake and move forward without the lifelong consequences of a DUI conviction.