Kill A Parent While Driving Drunk in Tennessee? Prepare to Pay Child Support

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

If you drive drunk in Tennessee and kill someone, and that someone has a child or children under the age of 18, you may end up paying child support.

That is if Tennessee governor Bill Lee signs House Bill 1834 into law. It has already passed the state’s House and Senate.

The bill states that it: “Requires a sentencing court, in convictions of vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide and when the deceased victim was the parent of a minor child, to order the defendant to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated high school.”

The state will use things such as the standard of living the child was accustomed to, financial needs, and the resources of the child/children and any parent or guardian who survives the crash.

Additionally, a surviving parent or guardian can still file civil suit or get a judgment against the offender, if the driver is convicted. Any child-support payment granted as part of the case would supersede any existing child-support arrangements.

Convicted offenders will need to begin making payments immediately, and if they cannot because they’re in jail or prison, they have until one year passes post-release. If the payments aren’t all made when the child or children turn 18, they will continue until complete.

Cecilia Williams, whose son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were killed by a drunk driver in April of 2021, is the driving force behind the law.

“They will always remember, this is what I did to the family, you know, and it will sink into them. I can’t do this again. You know, I’m supporting children that aren’t mine,” she said to 9 News ABC.

At first, the bill was slated to be named after Cecilia’s oldest still-living grandson, but the names of two other children who lost a parent to drunk driving have been added, changing it to “Ethan’s, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law.”

Yet another reason to NOT get behind the wheel after getting sloshed.

[Image: Paul Biryukov/Shutterstock.com]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Shipwright Shipwright on Apr 25, 2022

    I'm not sure I agree with this. Is there any reason why this couldn't be applied to any situation resulting in a wrongful death such as vehicular accidents not involving alcohol? Why not manslaughter? slippery slope indeed! (edit) why not ANY alcohol related death?

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Apr 25, 2022

    Good intentions is the asphalt used in the road to hell. I want to like this law. I'd like a law that makes campaign donations illegal and publicly funds elections more.

  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys PRESIDENT HARRISS, THE YOUNGEST FEMALE OF COLOR PRESIDENT WILL SCALE BACK EV REQUIREMENTS. FAT ORANGE WILL BE DOING TIME
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?
  • Kelley It's about time! I was so discouraged to see those poor Chevy Bolts stuck at the charging station receiving level 2 speeds after 80%, it was ridiculous. It would be nice if EA would had more level 2 chargers, also, at the same locations for people to top off above 80% on the fast chargers.
  • Tane94 Carmela Harris is supportive of EV adoption, so government incentives will be continuing under her watch.
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