Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law Friday that effectively grants legal immunity for people who call 911 after drinking too much.
The bill was inspired by missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, who disappeared last June after a night of drinking with friends.
Authors said the bill is narrowly crafted to encourage friends to call 911 if others have taken drinking to a dangerous level, RTV6's Chance Walser
During a ceremonial signing, Daniels credited the college students standing behind him with championing the lifeline bill.
"We are thanking the students who raised this issue and wouldn't go away until their representative government had responded to them," Daniels said.
Purdue Student Body President Brett Highley said a similar policy passed campus-wide last year has been successful.
"We've had a handful of cases so far where our campus policy has been applied, and that's one of the reasons we thought that taking it to the next level would be appropriate," Highley said.
IU has also taken steps to make students more comfortable with reaching out for help when needed.
"(Lauren Spierer) is consistently on our minds. Actually, her parents authored a letter of support for this bill because they know that if the people around her had felt comfortable to call for help, this likely could have been avoided," said IU student Justin Kingsolver.
Though the bill applies to all, sponsors said it is meant to target young adults. Opponents worry that it might encourage binge drinking, but supporters said it is a common-sense bill that will save lives.
"This is a backstop for those situations in which some young person does something reckless," Daniels said.
Efforts are ongoing at Purdue, IU and other college campuses in Indiana to educate students about the dangers of binge drinking.
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