Drunk drivers in Texas will now need to pay child support if they kill a child’s parent or guardian in a car crash, according to a new law that went into effect Friday.
The bipartisan bill was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in June. It rules that any person found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter must pay child support if the victim had a child, to an amount determined by a judge.
Nicknamed “Bentley’s Law,” the provision is being pushed in multiple states nationwide, started by a Missouri woman who lost her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild in a drunk driving crash in 2021.
Those who can’t pay will be given payment plans, with those in prison forced to pay the support within the first year after release.
An intoxicated manslaughter can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison in Texas.
Abbott said he was “proud” to sign the bill earlier this year.
“Any time a parent passes is tragic, but a death at the hands of a drunk driver is especially heinous,” he said.