Law Would Force Drunk Drivers To Pay Support For Victim’s Children, Should New York Follow Suit?
A bill moving through Tennessee state legislature that would make drunk drivers pay child support if they cause a crash that kills a parent is getting national attention.
According to the USA Today, a bill called 'Bentley's Law' has passed the Tennessee House and State Senate in honor of a mother in Missouri whose son, his fiancée, and their 4-month child were killed by a drunk motorist in April of 2021. This tragic event left two children orphaned, one a 5-year-old and one a 3-year-old.
The bill states that if a person is convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide, that person will be responsible to pay restitution if the victim is the parent of a minor child or children.
The drunk driver in this Missouri case was found to have a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit and admitted to patrol officers that he had consumed seven shots of crown and water, according to Fox 10.
Nashville, Tennessee's WREG-TV website outlines how the courts would determine the amount of restitution based on several factors including the financial needs and resources of the child (or children), as well as the surviving parent or guardian.
If the person who is convicted of the drunk driving charge serves jail time, payments must begin one year after release and continue until the child or children reaches 18 and graduates from high school, according to WREG-TV.
We see many comments about what should be done to drunk driving motorists where injury or death is involved. This bill would certainly help the children and caregivers of the victims.
Should other states, including New York and Pennsylvania consider introducing this bill as well? Fox 10 reports that the mother/grandmother who helped to create this law is encouraging people to reach out to their state representatives and make this law nationwide. Learn more about this bill here.
[via Fox 10, WREG-TV, USA Today]
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