Senator Edward Durr introduced legislation yesterday that would require courts to order financial support for children if their parents are killed by a drunk driver.
“A child that loses a parent or guardian to a drunk driver experiences an incredible amount of emotional distress. Their entire life is upended in an instant and, in addition to emotional consequences, they may also suffer significant financial consequences,” said Durr (R-3). “Since parents are ultimately responsible for the upbringing and education of their children, if a parent is killed by a drunk driver, that driver should be held responsible for the financial well-being of those children.”
Durr’s bill (S-2679), inspired by legislation advanced in other states, will require a person who is convicted of reckless vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to pay financial support on behalf of a minor—if the deceased is the parent or guardian of the minor.
Financial support on behalf of the child must be paid until the child reaches 18 years of age or has graduated from high school. If the child suffers from a mental or physical disability, financial support must be provided until the child reaches age 21.
“Every day, there are children in New Jersey who continue to feel the painful effects of these drunk driving tragedies,” added Durr. “By creating additional penalties, we will discourage other drivers from putting their life, and the lives of innocent bystanders, at stake.”