Proposed legislation aims to penalize individuals acting as supervising drivers while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legislation was inspired by a horrific car accident that led to the death of a young girl.
After drinking at a family party, Abbagail Buzard’s father convinced a 17-year-old cousin with a learner’s permit to drive to a convenience store to purchase more alcohol. Two young children were placed in car seats and a 14-year-old held 8-year-old Abbagail during the drive. The young driver took a curve too fast, lost control and the car rolled over multiple times. Young Abbagail was pinned under the car and died before paramedics could reach her.
Details of Proposed Legislation
This terrible tragedy led to a newly proposed law. The legislation states that “a learning permit holder may not operate a motor vehicle with any front seat occupants other than the supervising driver who is not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.” The law treats a supervising driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a Class A misdemeanor offender. If found guilty under this classification, an offender can receive one year imprisonment and a monetary fine.
Additionally, the legislation creates a crime called aggravated supervising a driver while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This new crime is a Class E felony which can result in four years imprisonment and a $1,000 – $5,000 monetary fine. In essence, supervisors are treated as if they were operating the motor vehicle.
If this law is enacted, a supervising driver will owe a higher duty to victims of car accidents involving a driver with a learner’s permit. As a result, anyone injured in a car accident that results from a supervising driver’s negligence may be entitled to compensation for medical and rehabilitative costs as well as pain and suffering. In order to ensure all legal rights and remedies are protected in this situation, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer.