Tennessee Passes Law Requiring Drunk Drivers To Pay Child Support If They Kill A Parent

The state of Tennessee has passed a law that would require drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill a person who has children. In 2018 alone, 243 people were killed by drivers who were under the influence of alcohol, and that number has only gone up since then. “Bentley’s Law” aims to finally put a stop to this terrible trend.

  1. Bentley’s Law was named after a 5-year-old child whose parents and brother were killed by a drunk driver. The child’s grandmother, Cecilia Williams, created the law in an aim to hold people who get behind of the wheel while impaired by alcohol accountable for their actions.
  2. Many other states are said to be getting behind the idea. While the law has only officially passed in Tennessee, 22 Words reveals that other states are also discussing a similar measure. It’s one very small way of ensuring that children whose families are taken from them aren’t left financially deprived.
  3. Missouri was planning to introduce Bentley’s Law in late 2021. CBS reported in November that legislation for Bentley’s Law was to be introduced after the accident that took Bentley’s parents and brother took place in the state. Cordell Williams, fiance Lacey Newton, and 4-month-old Cordell Williams II all passed away when their car was rear-ended by a drunk driver and went off the road. David Thurby, the driver of the vehicle, was arrested and charged with three counts of DWI resulting in the death of a person. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
  4. Bentley’s grandmother believes it’s only right for drunk drivers to foot the bill. Cecilia Williams, who’s raising Bentley and his 3-year-old brother Mason, hopes the law will get people to think twice before they get behind the wheel of a car after a drink. “They deserve to get that compensation because you’re talking about raising children that their parents are no longer here,” she said.
  5. The law does have a few caveats. It includes a provision that gives offenders a year after their prison release date before they have to start making payments. In addition, the law states that if the child reaches the age of 18 before the money has been paid, the driver will have to continue making payments until they are complete.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill