Drunk drivers convicted of involuntary manslaughter under the influence of alcohol in one state now owe compensation to their victims’ children.
Under the new Texas law, those convicted must pay child support to any minor whose parents died as a result of the accident.
In Texas, manslaughter while intoxicated is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Recently, lawmakers have decided that more can be done to compensate victims of such horrific accidents.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the new bill into law on June 2 after it was unanimously approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives.
The allowance is similar to child support in that it is paid each month to ensure that the needs of the orphaned children are met.
The surviving children receive maintenance payments until they turn 18 and finish school.
Other states passed similar laws after a woman died after her 30-year-old son left her to raise grandchildren.
The woman behind the Missouri law, known as Bentley’s law, hoped it would save families from more suffering.
“I think it will discourage people from driving drunk,” she said.
Four other states have signed a version of Bentley’s law.
The Texas version requires the defendant to begin paying child support a year after his release from prison.
Payment is based on the child’s standard of living, educational needs, physical and emotional condition, and current custody situation.
The amount is also adjusted to the financial means of the convicted person.
“This is a huge victory for Texas,” Carol Levin, chair of government affairs for mothers against drunk driving, told local broadcaster KENS 5 News.
Levin, who testified during the legislature, lost her son and daughter-in-law to a drunk driver seventeen years ago.
“What’s really amazing is that it was about kids and no one said no. And that touched my heart more than I could ever tell you after losing a child and daughter-in-law,” Levin said.
The law will come into force on September 1, 2023.