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Law requiring drunk drivers to pay child support if parent is killed passes in Tennessee

by Jordan Whittington

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

Legislation that targets drunk drivers unanimously passed the Tennessee House on Monday.

"Bentley's Law" aims to hold drunk drivers accountable by requiring them to pay child support if a parent is killed by a wreck.

Under HB 1834, an impaired driver convicted of vehicular homicide will be ordered to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim's children until the kids are 18 years old and graduate high school.

If the defendant is incarcerated and can't pay, the defendant is given one year after their release to begin payments. If the child reaches 18 but hasn't been paid in full, payments will continue until the child is entirely paid, the bill says.

Bentley's Law was created by Cecilia Williams, who named the legislation after her 5-year-old grandson. Williams says no amount of money will make up for the loss of life but hopes the law will lift some 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," Williams wrote.


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