TRENTON — Saying it will hold drunken drivers in New Jersey financially accountable, state Sen. Edward Durr has introduced legislation that would require courts to make any driver convicted of reckless vehicular homicide while under the influence pay financial support to the children of parents or guardians killed in the crash.

The legislation (S2679) sponsored by Durr, R-Gloucester, is inspired by similar measures in states such as Missouri and Tennessee, according to a release from Durr's office Tuesday.

It stipulates that financial support be provided until a child reaches the age of 18, or graduates from high school.

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In cases of mental or physical disability, the release said, the support must be provided until the child is 21 years old.

"Since parents are ultimately responsible for the upbringing and education of their children, if a parent is killed by a drunk driver, that driver should be held responsible for the financial well-being of those children," Durr was quoted as saying in the release.

According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, in 2020, driving while intoxicated was listed as a contributing factor in 29.5% of the 550 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the state, the highest percentage in two decades.

There was no immediate word on when Durr's bill might be considered.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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