Late last month, a man was charged with child neglect and reckless endangerment for making his 13-year-old son drive because he was too drunk to do so himself, the county sheriff’s office said. What he wasn't charged with, was driving drunk.
If McLaughlin's son had been older, and had a permit, it's not even clear that he would have been guilty of the crimes he's been charged with. That's because while someone with a learner's permit must be accompanied by a qualified supervising driver who is 21 years or older, and has held a license for a minimum of 3 years. The person must be seated beside the new driver at all times, with no other front seat occupants, there is no requirement that that person be sober.
Back in 1997, Judith Marie Flannery, a world-class triathlete and mother of five from Chevy Chase, was struck and killed by a car driven by a teen who was driving in place of his intoxicated father. While both the son and the father were charged with serious crimes, they were both found not guilty. In the end the father, Ronald Milton Rinehart, pleaded guilty to permitting an unauthorized person to a operate a motor vehicle and permitting a vehicle to be driven in violation of title; crimes that stemmed from the status of the car and the teen driver (who didn't have a learner's permit) but not the condition of the intoxicated driver.
I had always assumed that this incident, rising awareness of drunk driving and stricter drunk driving laws had led to the law in Maryland being changed so that an adult driver who was supervising an unlicensed driver (permit-holding or not) would be subject to a drunk driving violation if they were in fact over the limit. I guess I was wrong.