If a drunk driver causes the death of a parent, should the defendant be required to pay child support to the surviving parent or guardian?
That’s what SC legislators say a proposed bill would require, except the legislation as it is written doesn’t make sense, won’t prevent drunk driving deaths, and, in all but a few cases, won’t result in drunk drivers paying child support to the surviving children of drunk driving victims.
What is the pending legislation, what inspired it, and why wouldn’t it work?
House Bill 5299 is currently pending in the SC House, and a similar bill has been proposed in the SC Senate, although neither will be passed into law this legislative session.
The bill would make defendants financially responsible for a surviving child if the defendant is convicted of reckless vehicular homicide (vehicular manslaughter) while under the influence:
H 5299 General Bill, By W. Cox, Jones, White, West, Collins, B. Cox, Wooten, Caskey, T. Moore and Hyde
Similar (S 1301)
Summary: Driving or boating under the influence
A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 56-5-2937 SO AS TO PROVIDE PERSONS CONVICTED OF RECKLESS VEHICULAR HOMICIDE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR ANY OTHER DRUG OR COMBINATION OF DRUGS, OR CONVICTED OF RECKLESS VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AND HAD AT LEAST ONE PRIOR CONVICTION FOR DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, ANY OTHER DRUG, OR A COMBINATION OF OTHER DRUGS OR SUBSTANCES, OR DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES WITH AN UNLAWFUL ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION AND WHOSE VICTIMS WERE PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN, MUST PAY RESTITUTION IN THE FORM OF CHILD MAINTENANCE TO EACH OF THE VICTIMS’ CHILDREN UNTIL EACH CHILD REACHES EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND HAS GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL; AND BY ADDING SECTION 50-21-118 SO AS TO PROVIDE PERSONS CONVICTED OF OPERATING MOVING WATER DEVICES WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS WHEN DEATH RESULTS, OR RECKLESS HOMICIDE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS AND WHOSE VICTIMS WERE PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN, MUST PAY RESTITUTION IN THE FORM OF CHILD MAINTENA