INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The man behind Indiana’s Lifeline Law wants to broaden exactly who is protected under it. It’s an issue I-Team 8 has been working on for more than a year now.
The Lifeline Law was passed last year. It gives immunity to underage drinkers who call police to help a friend in an alcohol-related emergency. But Senator Jim Merritt wants to change that.
I-Team 8 reported on the new law after Carmel teen Brett Finbloom died from drinking too much last year. At the time, his friends were too scared to call 911 when he passed out. He never woke up.
The proposed changes to the law would make it more of a “Good Samaritan” law. Merritt says the goal is simple: save more lives. He says if a teen is trying to help someone who’s having any kind of medical emergency — alcohol-related or not — the caller shouldn’t get in trouble even if they’ve been drinking.
Senator Merritt says the expansion proposal was prompted by discussions on college campuses while promoting the current law. Indiana Attorney General Zoeller supports broadening the law. As the law stands now, there are three offenses that aren’t protected: drunken driving, possession of a controlled substance and providing to a minor. Senator Merritt plans to introduce the broader law in the General Assembly next year.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 25, 2013.