2018 Child Endangerment Report

The 2017 Child Endangerment Expert Panel found that the following considerations remain consistent since the last report: • Cases are not being properly charged, resulting in a lack of prosecution. • Cases that are charged are often plea-bargained down or dismissed. • Reports made to child protective service agencies are not being documented or investigated. • There is a general lack of public awareness of the seriousness of the problem. • Divorced parents confronted with the problem of an ex-spouse who drives while impaired face legal challenges, including subjecting themselves to civil contempt actions if they refuse visitation privileges to protect their children. • Many victims do not have the financial resources to seek relief in the civil court system. • Current state DUI/DWI child endangerment laws are complex and vary greatly from state to state, making enforcement and prosecution a challenge. • A uniform age of children should be established for when the laws apply. • There is no clear consensus on whether separate child endangerment statutes or enhanced penalties under existing DUI/DWI law is better. • Consider minimum mandatory penalties for violations of child endangerment laws. Additionally, since the last report, drugged driving has become a serious concern through abuse of legal and illegal drugs. Nine states and D.C. have passed laws allowing recreational marijuana use, and 29 states allow medical marijuana use. Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are commonly linked to drugged driving crashes. 2 According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 20.7 million people age 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year and 11.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs. Another important consideration in regard to child deaths caused by impaired driving is the lack of proper safety age-appropriate restraints (a seat belt or child safety seat), since drinking drivers are much less likely to make sure a child is properly restrained. Specifically, in fatal crashes, drinking drivers had properly restrained their children only 18 percent of the time, compared to 30.5 percent for sober drivers. Recommendations from the 2017 Child Endangerment Panel include: • Adoption of Leandra’s Law as a model law for state statutes • Mandatory interlocks for ALL first-time offenders • Formal finding of dismissal by prosecutors • Mandatory reporting of arrests immediately and use of a central database • No-refusal laws • Lower blood alcohol content threshold for child endangerment convictions • Improved age-appropriate restraint laws • Recognition of child endangerment as abuse and Child Protective Service agency notification • Mandatory provision in custody agreements that prohibits drunk driving endangerment with sanctions • Increased funding for national roadside surveys

9 states and DC allow recreational marijuana use

29 states allow medicinal marijuana use

Sober drivers are nearly twice as likely

to properly restrain a child passenger

2“ C Berning, A., Compton, R., & Wochinger, K. (2015, February). Results of the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 118). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online