OLYMPIA – Legislation to protect vulnerable roadway users was signed into law Monday. Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, introduced the House version of the bill to provide protection for all users of the road.
“This bill aims to protect all of our neighbors as we move around our communities,” Fitzgibbon said. “If an inattentive driver causes serious injury or kills a pedestrian, they should be treated differently with a punishment that better fits the severity of the crash.”
A traffic ticket, under current law, is the only penalty for a negligent driver that seriously injures a vulnerable user of the road, like a bicyclist or pedestrian. Under the Fitzgibbon-supported legislation, the default penalty would be $5,000 and a suspension of their driver’s license for 90 days.
“By addressing this gap in our current law, we’ll be taking a large stride towards fair protection for everybody on our roads,” Fitzgibbon said.
While the bill will address the gap in protection for vulnerable people in the streets, it also has an alternative penalty involving traffic safety training and community service.
The Cascade Bicycle Club and King County Parent Coalition for Developmental Disabilities both have endorsed the legislation.
Senate Bill 5326 passed the House with a 61 to 32 vote, and cleared the Senate 44 to 2, all during the regular 2011 legislative session.