Mississippi Bill Would Notify Parents of Underage DUI Offenders
A drunk driving arrest can be a sign of a serious life problem. Often courts give first offenders the benefit of a doubt and term the offense a “mistake,” but that mistake can have terrible consequences. It can also be a sign of substance abuse, dependency, behavioral or other problems.
Mississippi doesn’t want to take any chances with the lives of 18- to 21-year-olds who might be caught in a downward spiral of alcohol abuse and other ills. The state House of Representatives recently passed HB 1089, which would require police to notify the parents or guardian of an underage person who is arrested for impaired driving.
The Pain Behind the Bill
Like many impaired driving bills, this one has a story behind it. The bill is called the Rivers McGraw Act, after an Ole Miss student who took his life after struggling with addiction and legal problems. Lawmakers and those close to McGraw feel that a law like HB 1089 might have alerted his family and enabled him to get help and avoid a tragic end.
Before the Rivers McGraw Act becomes law, it must get through the Mississippi State Senate. There it might undergo some changes, but those who knew McGraw feel that the law will bring in troubled college students and other underage DUI offenders in from the cold, and help them get the treatment and support they need to turn their lives around.