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What the two new drunk driving laws mean for Tennesseans

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Car Accidents

Drunk driving has been an issue for as long as vehicles have been accessible to the general public. Lawmakers in Tennessee have enacted numerous laws to protect those affected by the poor choices of others.

There have always been a few different legal options available to those affected by drunk driving crashes in Tennessee. Drivers have an obligation to carry liability insurance coverage, and those who get hurt or lose a loved one in a drunk driving crash can file an insurance claim. Of course, some people don’t carry insurance like they should, and many others only have the absolute minimum amount of coverage required by law.

The decision to violate the law by driving while drunk also opens someone up to a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are a variety of circumstances in which those affected by a drunk driving crash may feel like they did not actually receive justice or adequate compensation. Yet, Tennessee lawmakers passed two new laws that went into effect in July, and those laws could potentially benefit those harmed by the dangerous habits of others in traffic.

What are the two new laws?

Despite basic laws allowing for insurance claims and civil litigation, there are a variety of scenarios in which people still have uncompensated losses. There are also situations in which one party contributed to a tragedy but doesn’t have direct accountability. The new laws in Tennessee help close some of those legal loopholes.

The Silas Gable Flatt Law creates liability for those who know someone drunk intends to drive. It makes it a misdemeanor offense to give someone access to a vehicle when they are under the influence or after the state suspends their license.

Dillard’s Law allows for a child maintenance restitution order to become a civil judgment. Effectively, if one parent dies and would have had to pay support to another for a child they share, the surviving parent can take legal action against the drunk driver convicted of vehicular homicide. They can obtain financial compensation for the loss of support.

Making use of these new laws can help people both minimize the lasting consequences they may otherwise suffer after a drunk driving crash caused by someone else and also create appropriate consequences for someone whose unsafe behavior has harmed other people.