Bill passed in Tennessee requires drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill parent of a minor

"Someone needs to be responsible for the upbringing of those children" – state GOP Rep. Mark White

Updated: April 22, 2022 - 1:11pm

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The Tennessee state Senate has voted unanimously to pass a bill that would require motorists to pay child support if they kill the parent of a minor in a drunk driving accident.

The bill – called "Bentley's Law" – has already passed the Tennessee House.

The law gives a convicted individual one year to begin child support payments, should they be unable to due begin them immediately due to incarceration, and requires that they continue paying until the child is 18. 

The law cites several reasons why the payments are necessary including maintaining the child's standard of living, providing financial resources for the child and providing financial resources to support the surviving parent or guardian of the child. 

The measure, if signed into law, would honor a grandmother whose son, his fiancé, and 4-month-old child were killed in last year a drunk driving accident in Missouri. The grandmother is now raising her orphaned grandchild.

The accident orphaned two children, 5-year-old Bentley, and 3-year-old Mason. USA Today reports that about 10,200 people in the U.S. are killed annually due to drunk driving car accidents.

"A parent is responsible for the education and upbringing of that child and when then that parent removed from the home over something so, in my opinion, foolish where we drink and drive and take the life of an innocent then someone needs to be responsible for the upbringing of those children," Tennessee state GOP Rep. Mark White told WREG News.

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