The Heartbreaking Story Behind John's Law
You've often seen the phrase "car impounded as per John's Law" in many Patch stories about drunk driving arrests.
Ocean County Police, Fire and EMS explains the sad story behind John's Law on its Facebook page:
"You may have seen these signs on vehicles or billboards but do you know the meaning behind it?
On Saturday, July 22, 2000, Bill and Muriel Elliott, of Egg Harbor Township New Jersey, received the horrific phone call parents fear the most. Their son, Navy Ensign John Robert Elliott, had been killed in a drunk driving crash.
The crash that took 21-year-old Ensign Elliott’s life was caused by a motorist who had been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated earlier in the evening. After being released to a friend, the driver got back behind the wheel, where he collided head-on with John’s vehicle, killing both of them. That evening, John and his girlfriend Kristen, who was in the car at the time of the crash and survived, were on their way home from Annapolis, Maryland to celebrate his mother’s birthday. (Source: Governors Highway Safety Association)
After his death a new law had been put into place entitled John's Law. Under John's Law if you are operating a motor vehicle and are arrested under the charge of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Refusal to submit to chemical breath testing your vehicle will be impounded for 12 hours by the arresting agency. That's mandatory.
Additionally the arrestee is to be detained until he or she is sober OR a relative or friend takes written legal responsibility to ensure that the individual that was arrested does not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while they are still intoxicated. If the individual does get behind the wheel still intoxicated, causes a motor vehicle crash where there are injuries or person(s) killed the person who took legal written responsibility for the individual is held equally responsible.
So the next time you think about getting behind the wheel drunk just know when you are pulled over & arrested you lose your car, you aren't free until you are sober or until someone comes take legal written responsibility for you.
Think to yourself if you were in such a situation, which we hope you never are, how many of your relatives or friends would sign the form to take legal written responsibility for your actions until you sober up. Sure you may think of quite a few people that would sign the form and some may say that they would too but in reality most would not.
Be a hero, be a designated driver."