I have been a financial supporter of Georgia Mothers Against Drunk Driving for many years, also serving as a member of the MADD executive committee. I have represented the victims of drunk drivers in my Gwinnett County catastrophic injury law practice. Every day in Georgia, drunk drivers cause injury and death. They should not be in a car. They should not be driving. And they should not have children with them.
Earlier this week, a woman who police said is a Cobb County resident, was arrested for driving under the influence of both alcohol and pain medication. She also had the drug Ecstasy in her car. In addition to the medications she had in the car, she also had two small children, ages 3 and 7, riding as passengers. The nature of her relationship with them was not reported.
According the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the woman was driving her SUV, a Toyota 4Runner with her passengers on Cobb Parkway when Acworth police officers observed her weaving. She was not able to stay in her lane and crossed over it several times. She was pulled over due to this.
The police arrested and charged her with several criminal counts. These include DUI, two counts of DUI child endangerment, an open container (she had an open bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the car), a failure to maintain her lane and possession of illegal drugs.
Apparently, on the stop with police, she admitted to having had a drink within the hour prior to the stop. She also told the police that she had taken prescription pain medication.
The National Highway Safety Administration has noted that many states have statutes that provide for an enhanced DUI when a person is driving drunk with children in the car. Cobb County officials have charged her with child endangerment, which is considered to be the appropriate charge to address the inherent dangers of impaired driving when there are children in the vehicle.
Earlier this year, Jan Withers, National President of MADD, wrote a post entitled “Drunk Driving Can Be a Form of Child Endangerment” in which she recounts many tragic examples of children who were the victims of a drunk driver. In each case, the children were innocent passengers in a car driven by a drunk driver.
Ms. Withers advocates for the universal understanding across the country that the child endangerment laws should come into play in cases in which children are passengers with a drunk driver. So do I.
Drunk drivers cause injury and death on Georgia’s roads. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, please contact The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, for a free consultation. With offices in Duluth and throughout the Atlanta area, we are able to support victims in pursuing their legal rights and recover from their injuries.