Every Child Deserves A Designated Driver

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving
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In May 2000, the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published “Characteristics of Child Passenger deaths and injuries involving Drinking Drivers.”  The study found that two-thirds of all children ages 14 and under that were killed in an alcohol-related crash were in fact riding with a drinking driver old enough to be the parent, caregiver or guardian. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/283/17/2249.full

 Protecting children is a value Nebraskans cherish. Yet, despite the fact drunk driving is a violent crime, driving while impaired with children riding in the vehicle is not a commonly acknowledged form of child endangerment or child abuse in our state.  No child should have to choose to ride with an impaired driver.  However, minor children have little choice when the driver is the parent or other adult caregiver.

 Child endangerment laws protect innocent children from child abusers, not only those who are physically or emotionally abusive, but those who victimize a child by driving over the legal limit (.08 BAC). An impaired driver makes the choice to drink and drive. The child has no voice and no choice when it comes to riding with the parent or adult caregiver.

It is clear that innocent children who count on parents and caregivers to protect them from danger are in fact being placed at risk when riding with an adult over the legal limit.  MADD supports LB 625, making driving with a child (15 and under) when the adult is over the legal limit (.08 BAC) a felony offense.

 MADD knows we can make a difference in the lives of children, our most precious cargo, who are endangered by impaired drivers.  Write your state senator and support LB 625, as introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton or LB 667, introduced by Speaker Flood both versions contain a child endangerment while intoxicated provision. http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/index.php

MADD stands strong on the felony offense.  MADD implores everyone to make a difference in the lives of children who cannot protect themselves.


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