Tennessee Act Orders That Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support To Victims Children

Image Credit: Chris Yarzab / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

A Republican-sponsored bill has been passed by the Tennessee Legislature that would order a person convicted of killing a child’s parents as a result of drunk driving pay child support to the victim’s children.

House Bill 1834 (HB1834), sponsored by Representative Mark Hall (R-Cleveland-District 24) and Senate Bill 2103 (SB2103), sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville-District 9) in summary, requires a sentencing court to order a defendant who has been convicted of vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide due to intoxication and in which the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child 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 from high school. – Amends TCA Title 39; Title 40 and Title 55.

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The legislation also known “Ethan, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law” has a April 19th amendment which reads: 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. Specifies the offset of child maintenance in consideration to civil action.

“Ethan, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law” is in reference to the two children (Ethan and Hailey) of a Chattanooga Police officer, Nicholas Scott Galinger, who was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

“Bentley” is in reference to a Missouri child whose parents were killed in an accident involving an intoxicated driver.


In support of the legislation, Representative Mark White (R-Memphis-District 83) told WREG-TV, “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.”

The bill cites several reasons why the payments to the child would be necessary, including: maintaining the child’s standard of living, the financial resources and needs of the child, as well as the financial needs of the surviving parent or guardian of the child.

The legislation has passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and will soon head to Governor Lee for his signature.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

3 thoughts on “Tennessee Act Orders That Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support To Victims Children

  • April 25, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Since passing the “Wine in Grocery stores” passed it fast tracked Liquor stores opening during Church Hour to Alcohol being accessible 24/7. Right? Now there is a push for Medical Cannabis which historically will lead to recreational Cannabis ! So ” Increase access + Increase availablity = Increase in Impaired consequences” Therefore I find this Law very hypocritical! In the name of profits our law makers are part of the problem. Shame on them, they are just passing the buck and making themselves feel better as far as I am concerned.

  • April 26, 2022 at 12:53 am

    I suggest criminal and civil crimes would be significantly reduced if the penalties were rewarded to the victims in restitution. Have to think a little that the ‘state’ is not the actual victim . Reparations to the victim by the perpetrators even if that means indentured servitude until paid. Probation officers would verify restitution and refer the perpetrators back to prison for failing to comply. Circular logic???


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