Texas is the latest state to sign Bentley’s Law into effect. Similar legislation has been introduced or passed in 24 other states.
Drunk drivers in Texas will now have to pay child support if they kill a child’s parent or guardian in a crash.
The bill, named “Bentley’s Law,” was signed into Texas law Friday and requires those who kill parents of kids under 18 in a crash to pay child support.
Cecilia Williams, who created the law, lobbied for it after her son Cordell, daughter-in-law Lacy, and 4-month-old grandson were killed in April 2021 by a drunk driver in Missouri.
“I made a promise to my kids, and my grandson, and other people that I was going to do what I could to stop people from driving under the influence,” Williams told KHOU.
After Cordell and Lacy were killed, their other two sons, then-4-year-old Bentley, and then-2-year-old Mason, were left without parents, leaving Williams to care for them.
“Life ain’t the same and it never will be,” said Williams.
Tennessee became the first state to sign Bentley’s law into effect in July and similar legislation has been introduced in 24 other states.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said in an April 2022 statement that it supports Bentley’s Law.
“Too often, offenders are able to move on with their lives even after killing someone, while victims and survivors are reminded every day of their loss,” the statement reads. “The idea behind Bentley’s Law is to both provide a sense of justice to victims and survivors and make sure offenders are reminded of the heartbreak they caused by making the choice to drive impaired.”