|Posted:||April 26, 2019 01:13 PM|
|From:||Representative Brett R. Miller and Rep. Mary Jo Daley|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Vulnerable Highway User Protections|
|In the near future we will be re-introducing legislation that will amend Title 75 (Vehicles) to define the term “Vulnerable Highway User” and increase the penalties for a person convicted of reckless or careless driving that results in either the death, serious bodily injury, or bodily injury of a Vulnerable Highway User.
This bill was introduced last session as HB 1646 and passed the House and the Senate Transportation Committee, but time ran out prior to the bill’s final passage. Co-sponsors from last session were: B. MILLER, TAYLOR, MILLARD, DRISCOLL, MALONEY, W. KELLER, MENTZER, NEILSON, STURLA, HELM, DIAMOND, RYAN, LONGIETTI AND BARBIN.
The majority of highway users benefit from decades of research and development, technological innovations, government regulations, and advanced engineering to make their highway experience as safe as possible. However, there exists a large segment of highway users who, due to the nature of their means of transportation, do not benefit from seat belts, steel cages, and air bags, plus other safety features. Primarily these are pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchairs, motorcyclists, horseback riders, horse and carriages, and farm equipment. They are relatively far more vulnerable to the dangers present on our highways but lack any extra protections in the law.
Current law prohibits careless and reckless driving but does not account for the much greater degree of harm to vulnerable highway users that can be caused by those who drive dangerously around them. Because they are far more vulnerable, the law ought to provide a greater degree of deterrence. This legislation will provide that extra deterrence by making the penalty for reckless driving the same as that which has been established for killing or injuring road workers in a work zone. Additionally, penalties for careless driving have been established as half the amount of those for reckless driving.
Current law requires a 4 foot buffer when passing a bicycle on the road. This bill will further protect vulnerable highway users by requiring a 4 foot buffer when passing any vulnerable highway user. Also, in recognition of fact that bicyclists have equal rights and responsibilities when using the road, this bill also creates equal fines for vehicle code violations.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation to add additional protections for vulnerable highway users.
Introduced as HB1536