Driving past barricades into flood waters is now going to be very expensive. Tim Creighton, Okmulgee County Emergency Management Director, announced that when a road has been closed to traffic by erecting a barricade it is unlawful for any person to drive round it and enter the closed area.
Any person going around a barricade and driving off into flood waters shall be charged with a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or 30 days in the county jail. They also shall be liable for any damage to property, or injury to or death to persons caused by the violations. The court may in addition order restitution for the costs of emergency response and repair or replacement of any damaged emergency equipment. The below listed law is now going to be enforced and fines are going to be levied.
47 O.S. 2001, Section 11-1302
Temporary Highway Closings - Flooded Highways or Maintenance and Construction Zones
A. The Department of Transportation and any county or city in this state through their respective governing bodies are hereby authorized to close any highway or section thereof, within their respective jurisdiction, to traffic while the highway is flooded or under repair, maintenance or construction and, in exercising the authority, shall erect or cause to be erected traffic-control devices and barricades to warn and notify the public that the highway has been closed to traffic.
B. When any highway has been closed to traffic under the provisions of subsection A of this section and traffic-control devices or barricades have been erected, it shall be unlawful for any person to drive any vehicle through, under, over, or around the traffic-control devices or barricades, or otherwise to enter the closed area. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to persons while engaged in the construction, maintenance and repair of the highway or to persons entering therein for the protection of lives or property; provided, that persons having their places of residence or places of business within the closed area may travel, when possible to do so, through the area at their own risk.
C. Whenever construction, repair and maintenance of any highway is being performed under traffic, the governing body having jurisdiction over the highway shall erect, or cause to be erected, traffic-control devices to warn and guide the public. Each person using the highway shall obey all signs, signals, markings, flagmen or other traffic-control devices which are placed to regulate, control, and guide traffic through the construction or maintenance area. As used in this subsection, "construction or maintenance area" means any area upon or around any highway that is visibly marked as an area where construction, repair, and maintenance is temporarily occurring. The construction or maintenance area also includes the lanes of highway leading up to the area upon which an activity described in this section is being performed, beginning at the point where properly posted traffic-control devices start to warn and guide the public into and through the construction or maintenance including, but not limited to, instructions to merge from one lane into another lane, to reduce speed, or to follow directions of flagmen.
D. The "Merge Now" traffic-control device that is used to warn and guide the public using the highway to merge, shall be located no greater than one (1) mile nor less than one thousand five hundred (1,500) feet in advance of the highway construction or maintenance area. Whenever any traffic-control device requires traffic to merge due to the closure of a section or lane of highway, the merge shall be completed:
1. As soon as practicable after passing the traffic-control device; and
2. Without passing any other traffic proceeding in the same direction.
E. No person shall remove, change, modify, deface or alter any traffic-control device or barricade which has been erected on any highway under the provisions of this article.
F. Nothing in this article shall relieve the state or any of its subdivisions or their contractors, agents, servants or employees from liability for failure to perform any of the duties imposed herein.
G. Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed thirty (30) days, or both such fine and imprisonment, and shall be liable for any damage to property, or injury to or death to persons caused by the violations. In addition, the court may order restitution in an amount equal to the actual costs of the emergency response and repair or replacement of any damaged or lost emergency equipment.