2018 Child Endangerment Report



Child Endangerment Panel In 2002, MADD twice convened a panel of experts to develop practical policy recommendations for one of the nation’s most pressing child endangerment problems: children riding in vehicles with impaired drivers. Recommendations were ultimately outlined in the 2004 Child Endangerment Report, Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver. The Child Endangerment Expert Panel, supported by a grant awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs and U.S. Department of Justice, consisted of child and victim advocates, attorneys, judges, law enforcement officials, policy specialists and a bereaved parent victim of child endangerment. The report was distributed to MADD state offices and chapters, state law enforcement agencies, Governor’s Highway Safety Offices, court personnel and key child protective service agencies. It contained helpful guidelines and measures to inform parents, child advocates, medical personnel, law enforcement officials, victim advocates, policymakers and the general public on how to provide greater protection of children from impaired drivers. This report illustrated the heartache that public awareness, training, education and effective child endangerment laws can prevent. A video documentary of a child endangerment case produced by the Wyoming Department of Transportation was included with the report. The video tells the true story of a State Highway Patrol Officer’s five-year-old daughter who was killed after his intoxicated ex-wife drove with a BAC of .22 percent. Prior to the convening of the first panel of experts and during the five-year period of 1997-2001, 1,985 child passengers died and an estimated 87,226 were injured in alcohol-related crashes. Sixty-eight percent of the deaths and 38 percent of the injuries occurred among children who were riding in the same vehicle with the drinking driver. Only 29 percent were known to have been restrained (restraint use was unknown for 9 percent of child passenger deaths). Fifteen years later, in 2016, of the 1,233 children killed in traffic crashes, 214 children (17 percent) were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Of these 214 deaths, 54 percent were passengers of vehicles with alcohol-impaired drivers, and 46 percent of these children were unrestrained. Most states now have endangerment statutes. Forty-six states (increased from 35 in 2004) and D.C. currently have statutes that create special sanctions in cases of driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) while the offender is transporting a child. Seven states treat the criminal penalty as a felony. Eight states have yet to make modifications to their laws to better safeguard children.

7 states treat driving with a child while intoxicated as a felony


47 states and DC have some sort of endangerment statute


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