Tennessee Bill forces drunk drivers to pay for victim’s children

A bill passed by the Tennessee state legislature this week would force convicted drunk drivers to pay child support if they are involved in an accident that kills a parent of a minor.

Mark Hall, a member of the state House of Representatives who sponsored the law, said children have “the best chance of success after tragedy” if the law becomes law.

“Needless to say it’s devastating and you have children who have a very limited future without their parents,” Hall said in an interview with The Post on Friday.

“Not that they can ever be replaced, but that gives them some sort of financial support until they hit 18 so they’re not financially devastated.”

The bill appears to be the first of its kind in the country. It is now awaiting the signature of Governor Bill Lee.

A spokesman for Lee could not be reached for comment Friday, but Hall said he expects the governor to sign the law by July 1.

car accident
Governor Bill Lee has to sign the bill into law for it to become law.
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The law requires someone convicted of vehicle murder to pay compensation to the children of victims who died in the accident. Payments would continue until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

A court would determine the amount of the payments taking into account the child’s standard of living, financial needs and family situation.

Hall said various other states such as Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina had started working on similar bills and called him to share the language of his bill.

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Tennessee Rep. Mark Hall says the law would give children “the best chance of success after a tragedy.”
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“It’s a powerful tool in the fight against drunk drivers — I mean, it’s something they really have to think about when they’re drunk driving,” Hall said.

The “law of Ethan, Haile and Bentley” was first pitched by Missouri grandmother Cecilia Williams, whose son and fiancée died in a drunken car accident — essentially leaving Williams’ young grandsons, Bentley and Mason, orphaned, according to Fox29 .

Ethan and Haile were the names of the children of Tennessee Police Officer Nicholas Galinger, who was fatally hit by a drunk driver in 2019, KBTX reported. Tennessee Bill forces drunk drivers to pay for victim’s children


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