(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels held a ceremonial signing of a new law Friday that many feel will help save lives.
The state’s new “Lifeline Law” provides immunity for certain alcohol-related offenses committed by minors who seek emergency medical assistance, such as somebody incapacitated by alcohol poisoning.
Senate Enrolled Act 274 goes into effect July 1. It was sponsored in the House by State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville).
“It is good public policy to encourage people to do the right thing. We want to see young people make good decisions,” said McMillin. “Too often, we saw that young people, when faced with a potentially life threatening situation, did not seek help due to fear of legal repercussions. Now, individuals will not be penalized for potentially saving a life.”
It covers the crimes of public intoxication, minor possession, consumption, and transportation of alcohol. However, the law does not interfere with the ability of police to charge for offenses such as providing to a minor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or possession of a controlled substance.
To receive immunity, students must stay at the scene until help arrives.
Twenty-one underage drinkers have lost their lives since 2004 because of alcohol poisoning. McMillin said the policy has been proven to save lives.
“We are sending a message to young adults and to Hoosiers that our priority is to provide help to those in need, no matter what the circumstance,” he said.