DUI: A Problem That Continues Placing Children At Risk

A West Virginia woman was arrested after overturning her car after driving under the influence with two children in her car. She is facing child neglect charges.

According to deputies of the Fayette County Sheriff's office, they arrested her after they responded to a report of a single vehicle crash in September 2023. The deputies said they smelled alcohol on the woman's breath, and a DUI expert with the Sheriff's Office determined her to be under the influence of alcohol.

The woman told the deputies she had "a few" shots of moonshine prior to the crash.

The deputies have charged the woman with two felony counts of child neglect creating risk of injury or death, DUI, and failure to maintain control of a vehicle. Martina Bills "Woman charged with child neglect after DUI crash" https://www.wsaz.com/2023/09/21/woman-charged-with-child-neglect-after-dui-crash/ (Sep. 22, 2023).

Commentary and Checklist

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day, approximately 37 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes. This is equivalent to one person every 39 minutes.

In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving related incidents. These deaths were all preventable.

Also in 2021, among children, 14 and younger killed in car crashes, 25 percent were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Of these deaths, around 55 percent of the time, the child killed was in the vehicle driven by the drunk driver.

Driving while impaired is a crime, but it is also a form of child neglect. What are other ways in which a child can be neglected?

·      The parent or caregiver ignores the child's physical, emotional, medical/dental, psychological, or educational needs.

·      The child is born addicted to drugs.

·      Family lives in poverty or homelessness and cannot or will not care for the child.

·      The parent or caregiver does not bond with the child and lacks parenting skills.

·      The parent suffers from mental illness or was abused or neglected as a child.

·      The child is living in inadequate housing without sufficient food, water, and heat and is improperly dressed for the weather.

·      Child is dirty, in poor physical health, dental disease, and always hungry.

·      Child is left unsupervised.

·      Illegal drugs and/or firearms are present in the home.

·      The child has excessive absences at school.

·      The child displays low self-esteem, depression, a need for constant affection and attention or is withdrawn and unable to form bonds.

·      The child is left alone for extended periods of time or is caring for younger siblings.

·      Child is forced from the home or abandoned.



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