You've often seen the phrase "car impounded as per John's Law" in many Patch stories about drunk driving arrests.
Ocean County Police, Fire and EMS explains the sad story behind John's Law on its Facebook page:
"You may have seen these signs on vehicles or billboards but do you know the meaning behind it?
On Saturday, July 22, 2000, Bill and Muriel Elliott, of Egg Harbor
Township New Jersey, received the horrific phone call parents fear the
most. Their son, Navy Ensign John Robert Elliott, had been killed in a
drunk driving crash. The crash that took 21-year-old Ensign Elliott’s life was caused by a motorist
who had been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated
earlier in the evening. After being released to a friend, the driver got
back behind the wheel, where he collided head-on with John’s vehicle,
killing both of them. That evening, John and his girlfriend Kristen, who
was in the car at the time of the crash and survived, were on their way
home from Annapolis, Maryland to celebrate his mother’s birthday.
(Source: Governors Highway Safety Association) After his death a
new law had been put into place entitled John's Law. Under John's Law
if you are operating a motor vehicle and are arrested under the charge
of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Refusal to submit to chemical
breath testing your vehicle will be impounded for 12 hours by the
arresting agency. That's mandatory.
Additionally the arrestee is to be
detained until he or she is sober OR a relative or friend takes written
legal responsibility to ensure that the individual that was arrested
does not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while they are still
intoxicated. If the individual does get behind the wheel still
intoxicated, causes a motor vehicle crash where there are injuries or
person(s) killed the person who took legal written responsibility for
the individual is held equally responsible. So the next time
you think about getting behind the wheel drunk just know when you are
pulled over & arrested you lose your car, you aren't free until you
are sober or until someone comes take legal written responsibility for
you. Think to yourself if you were in such a situation, which
we hope you never are, how many of your relatives or friends would sign
the form to take legal written responsibility for your actions until you
sober up. Sure you may think of quite a few people that would sign the
form and some may say that they would too but in reality most would not.
Be a hero, be a designated driver."