JEFFERSON CITY, Mo— Among the many pre-filed pieces of legislation for the second session of the 98th general assembly was House Bill 1436, otherwise known as Toby’s Law.
Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson visit with Missouri State Representative of the 127th District, Mike Kelley:
Mike Kelley, Missouri State Rep. for the 127th District says this particular measure is dealing with a subject he has always considered an important matter and wanted to do more about it.
“It’s a very simple bill, it’s going to require people that have been convicted of driving while intoxicated to have to go through what’s called a victim impact panel.” Kelley explains, “This is a panel that has victims; people that have either been injured by drunk drivers, people that have lost family members to drunk drivers, law enforcement that have went to crash sites and visited with people, have seen the effects of drunk driving and they tell their stories.”
Kelley notes, if this bill is passed into law, it would forever serve as a reminder to those who chose to make a decision without considering the sometimes lethal effects which can pursue.
“People that been convicted of drunk driving often think that it’s a victimless crime and they think, ‘I didn’t hurt anyone,’,” says Kelley, “Well, this shows the other side of what could’ve happened if they hadn’t been pulled over when they were driving intoxicated.”
Missouri saw high motor vehicle deaths in 2015. Of the 767 recorded crashes, 158 were alcohol or drug related and resulted in the death of 171 people. Kelley states this bill goes a step further in the effort to advocate.
“It’s always been an issue that I’ve wanted to figure out ways to do more,” Kelley explains his reasoning behind initiating HB 1436, “When I hired my new assistant, during her interview she talked about that she participates in victim impact panels and this is something that she does because her mother and brother were killed eight years ago by a drunk driver and she had her back broke during that accident. I have to correct myself; she says it was not an accident… It’s a wreck because obviously when a drunk driver goes out, they know what they are doing and they make a conscious decision.”
Kelley says for now, the bill is in limbo waiting for a committee hearing.
To learn more about “Toby’s Law” and other Missouri legislation, visit house.mo.gov.