‘A Culture of Accountability on Our Roads’
A bill in Maryland looks to fill that “big gaping hole” between felony manslaughter and a minor traffic ticket:
Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons, D-Montgomery, the bill’s chief sponsor, called it “cosmically absurd” that a driver can speed, run a red light and kill someone and not face criminal prosecution because his actions did not meet the high standard required to prove vehicular manslaughter. He said his measure would not criminalize “ordinary negligence,” such as taking your eyes off the road momentarily, but would be targeted at more serious deviations from reasonable care.
The legislation will create “a culture of accountability on our roads,” Simmons said.
This parallels a similar move in Washington State.
A bill to be introduced in the state legislature would make it a crime to kill or seriously injure a person with a car while violating a traffic law—a response to the killing of City Council aide Tatsuo Nakata by driver Ephraim Schwartz, who struck Nakata in a crosswalk while talking on his cell phone.
“The problem we’re trying to address is that there’s a big gap between a civil infraction”—a traffic ticket—”and a felony,” says City Attorney Tom Carr, who’s pushing for the legislation. “It’s my view that if you speed regularly through school zones and 99 percent of the time nothing happens, but one percent of the time you seriously injure somebody, that should be more serious” than a mere traffic violation, Carr says.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009 at 9:17 am and is filed under Traffic Enforcement. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.