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Bill by Sen. Kline would raise penalties for hitting a biker or pedestrian

Post by Katie Schmidt on Jan. 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
January 21, 2011 4:38 pm

This time around a bill to raise the penalties for drivers who hit a pedestrian or bicyclist has a good chance of passing.

At least that’s what Sen. Adam Kline, the bill’s sponsor, has to say about it.

“It’s been sanded down like woodwork gets sanded down, and now it’s very shiny and perfected,” Kline, D-Seattle, said of Senate Bill 5326.

The bill would create a new level of traffic infraction for people who drive negligently and in so during hurt or kill a “vulnerable user” of a public road, meaning a pedestrian, bicyclist, equestrian or farm vehicle operator. As it now stands, drivers who hurt or kill vulnerable users do not get any more fines or penalties than somebody who drives negligently but doesn’t hurt anyone.

The new penalties would be either a $1000 to $5000 fine and a 90-day license suspension or, if the driver went to a hearing, a $250 fine, a traffic safety course and 100 hours of community service.

A similar bill, SB 5838, did not make it out of the Senate in 2010.

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