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A law requiring drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill parents in a collision has passed in the US state of Tennessee.
The so-called 'Bentley's Law' – named after a five-year-old whose parents and brother were killed by a drunk driver – was created by the child's grandmother, Cecilia Williams, and is intended to hold drunk drivers to account for their actions and decisions.
According to 22 Words, Bentley's Law has also been discussed in a number of other states, as the idea behind ensuring children are at least not financially deprived by the tragic death of their parents at the hands of a drunk driver is a popular one.
CBS reported in November last year that Missouri was planning to introduce legislation on Bentley's Law after an accident in the state led to the deaths of Bentley's parents and brother.
A car accident in April cost the lives of Cordell Williams, his fiancé Lacey Newton and their four-month-old son Cordell Williams II when their car was rear-ended and went off the road.
The driver, David Thurby, has been charged with three counts of DWI (driving while intoxicated) resulting in the death of a person, with his blood alcohol being twice the legal limit when measured following the incident.
Bentley and his three-year-old brother Mason now live with Cecilia, who has been working on the legislation ever since the crash that killed three members of her family.
The Missouri woman is pushing states to pass a law requiring a drunk driver that kills a parent of young children to pay child support. She named the proposal “Bentley’s Law” after one of the two grandchildren she’s now raising. >>> https://t.co/q8y1cp42t1— KFVS News (@kfvsnews) March 3, 2022
Williams hopes Bentley's Law will make people think twice about drink driving, and believes it's important to pass financial responsibility for loss of life onto the offender.
She said, 'They deserve to get that compensation because you're talking about raising children that their parents are no longer here [sic].'
Within the new law are provisions for those who are imprisoned after drink driving and killing a child's parents; they will be given up to a year following their release from prison before they have to start making payments.
Meanwhile, if the child reaches the age of 18 before the money has been fully paid, then payments continue until the drunk driver has paid in full.
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