Preventing Substance Impaired Driving and Child Endangerment

adults have very few options for protecting a child from a parent who drives substance impaired. Even worse, if a parent attempts to prevent the child from riding with their substance impaired parent, breach of the custody agreement could be enforced leading to further victimization. There are difficulties and inconsistencies in enforcing the child endangerment statutes. Many of the laws are too complex, and it is difficult to interpret the existing DUI/ DWI child endangerment laws. As a result, these laws are not being uniformly enforced. In addition to criminal statutes, there is difficulty enforcing civil remedies absent a restraining order or request of participation from child protective services. Generally, there appears to be a lack of education on all aspects of the laws and the problem of child endangerment. There is a critical need for judicial education programs addressing all of the issues surrounding child endangerment. Judges need to ask convicted DUI/DWI offenders at sentencing if they have children and if they have ever driven substance impaired with their children

in their vehicle. Civilly, violation of terms of a divorce decree as it relates to substance impaired driving with minor children in the car should be clearly tied to a change in custody or visitation.

Stopping child endangerment can be a long, difficult process.

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