Drive Drunk? Be Ready to Pay Child Support

Drive Drunk?  Be Ready to Pay Child Support

Ale Lossing, Staff Writer

   A new state law in Tennessee, called Bentley’s Law, targets impaired drivers convicted of vehicular homicide that will be ordered to pay restitution in the form of child support until the children(s) have reached 18 years old and graduate from high school. The new law raises many questions, the most being, what is the purpose that the law serves to everyone?

   Cecilia Williams, who created the law, named the legislation after her 5-year-old grandson. She hopes that the new law will lift some of the financial burdens of kids left without parents. “It will always be a constant reminder to the offender of what the person’s actions have caused,” said Williams. 

   The bill cites several reasons why the payments of child support are necessary when it comes to vehicular manslaughter of a minor’s parent(s). “A parent is responsible for the education and upbringing of that child and when then that parent is removed from the home over something so, in my opinion, foolish where we drink and drive and take the life of an innocent, then someone needs to be responsible for the upbringing of those children,” said State Representative Republican Mark White. 

     Some have questioned Bentley’s law saying, “As much as I love this (law); how can someone in prison pay child support with zero income?” According to the bill, it gives the DUI offenders who are in jail up to one year after their release to make payment. If the child turns 18 and the payments aren’t completed, the offender must continue to pay until all debts are paid off. 

   The law sparks curiosity in how this will influence the decrease of drunk driving. According to the CDC, 32 people are killed by alcohol-impaired drivers everyday. With this new law, the goal is not only to decrease drunk driving, but help the families that are left behind with the burden of extra finances. Other states have similar bills being considered after realizing the benefits of punishing someone for their poor decisions.