NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Through the chaos at the Tennessee State Capitol during the 2023 legislative session, one law passed and made it to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk, in honor of an unborn child in Tennessee.
The “Silas Gable Flatt Law” gained bipartisan support.
“Silas’ family was traveling from Livingston to Cookeville and in Richmond was hit head-on,” explained Rep. Ryan Williams, (R—Cookeville).
Williams introduced HB 1198 after hearing the Flatt family story. Williams described how the couple and their son were driving home when a driver came out of nowhere.
“[They were} hit head-on by a fourth offense person whose parent has in this instance and a loved one in a previous instance in their third DUI. A parent has given them without interlock or insurance or without a license to drive their vehicle and chose, this person chose to drive intoxicated across my community in the process of doing so when he hit the Flatt family head-on,” said Williams.
Silas was just 50 hours away from being born, and at 9 pounds, he died as a result of the crash, Williams explained.
“In this instance, they know that they can drive someone else’s car, and their parent or loved one or whoever enabled them to do so won’t be penalized, this bill aims to change that,” Williams said. “If you knowingly provide a vehicle to somebody who you know is impaired or intoxicated, then you, yourself would be charged as an accessory for that.”
This is how it would work. If someone gives access to a car, knowing the driver is impaired or intoxicated, and the driver hits or kills another person, then the one who allowed the person to drive would be punished.
News 2 reached out to the Flatt family about the new bill, but because of pending litigation, they could not comment. However, they shared photos of their family and baby Silas and told News 2 they are honored by the law.
According to the legislature website, the bill was signed into law by the governor on Tuesday.
Under the new law, penalties for these offenses are listed as follows:
- First offense: Minimum 48 hours of incarceration
- Second offense: Minimum 72 hours of incarceration
- Third or subsequent offense: Minimum seven consecutive days of incarceration