What happens at a Victim Impact Panel?

Many states require those convicted of impaired driving to attend a victim impact panel as part of their diversion or post-adjudication education requirements.

What is a victim impact panel?

A group of people whose lives have been affected by drunk driving are assembled. They tell about the death or injury of their loved ones, they show photographs, and they explain how their lives, and the lives of their families, have been changed by the act of one drunk driver. Sometimes a person who has previously been convicted of impaired driving will tell his or her story as well.

What Doesn’t Happen at the Panels

Many offenders are worried that they’re in for a public shaming, that they’ll be blamed or harassed for their actions. That’s not how it works. The idea is to tell the stories of victims, so that the next time the offender is drinking and considers getting behind the wheel, he or she will see real people on the road.

Combined with other tools to reduce drunk driving – DUI courts and ignition interlocks in particular – victim impact panels help make a difference.    If you want to know more about your state’s requirements regarding victim impact panels, check our state requirements pages for more details.