Maryland Governor Signs Manslaughter by Vehicle Law



Maryland Governor Signs Manslaughter by Vehicle Law

Maryland bicycle advocates have something to celebrate this week.  They were successful in getting legislation passed to punish motorists for dangerous driving when pedestrians or cyclists are killed.  You can read more about their HB 363 bill.  Another state wakes up and gets on board with the Vulerable Road User movement, can RI be next?


  • Labann
    May 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

    States, who greatly benefit from automotive revenue, obviously consider the 0.1% of world population that directly dies every year from car caused cardiovascular disease, cancer, and collisions acceptable sacrifice and collateral damage.

    If anyone stopped to grasp that motoring is 25 times more dangerous than bicycling and, unlike bicycling, fraught with all sorts of personal liabilities, they'd probably voluntarily give it up. Nah, why bother when they can weasel out of their responsibility because government in collusion with insurance much rather let them than try to do the right thing?

  • May 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I reviewed the bill. It seems weak. The official synopsis: “Making it a misdemeanor for a person to cause the death of another as a result of the person’s driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle or vessel in a criminally negligent manner; establishing the circumstances under which a person is considered to act in a criminally negligent manner for purposes of the Act; etc.” If the driver was criminally negligent, death resulting, this should be a felony rather than a misdemeanor. The bill creates a MAXIMUM sentence of 3 years in prison, and maximum fine of $5000, and says nothing about losing one’s license to drive.

    But if this is indeed a step forward for MD, then I applaud them while urging them not to be satisfied.

    I admit to being ignorant of how well this may fill the gap that currently exists between not being considered a criminal act, and the law covering the next level – murder, or vehicular homicide, or whatever it may be.

  • Peggy Wolf
    May 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I'm sure a lot of people put a lot of effort into getting this bill passed, and I thank them. I want to give a very special thanks to Kennis Henry, the mother of Natasha Pettigrew, the brilliant law student who was running as a Green Party candidate for Senate in Maryland when she was plowed down on her bike by motorist Christy Littleford who left her to die. Ms. Henry not only stepped into her daughter's shoes to complete the Senate campaign, she also worked tirelessly putting this bill in the face of a lot of legislators who were inclined against it. Time and time again when it looked like the bill had no chance, Ms. Henry pressed harder. Let's send her and all the mothers and fathers who have lost their children lots of love. Peace.

  • Dennis
    May 17, 2011 at 6:02 am

    New legislation is a step in the right direction. A recent bicycling death in CO shows that the problem runs deeper.

    "Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said Pickett was appeared to be pedaling east on 46th when, investigators think, he was hit by a vehicle going north on Josephine."

    Notice that the bicyclist is a person (he) and he was not hit be the driver of a vehicle, just a vehicle.


  • May 17, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I've gotten into the habit of adding a comment to whatever online newspaper has the article every time I see this. Perhaps we should start a "cars don't kill, people do" campaign.

  • MattyCiii
    May 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    When someone is killed on state roads, and the state is unwilling or unable to hold the driver accountable – is that not grounds for a federal civil liberties lawsuit against the state? There is a huge class of people who are unprotected by states here, where there is a clear need for protection. Is a failure to pass and enforce tough pedestrian/cyclist laws in 2011 some sign that states somehow think fatalities will fall on their own? Or is it the gross disregard for the most fundamental civil right – the right to life?

  • Labann
    May 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Fat criminals like Rep. Pat McHenry (R) show what conservative legislators think about cycling…

    Bikes don’t kill, but car-nage from bad policies, defective mentalities, lax legislation, and unsafe-at-any-speed vehicles do. Somehow your slogan forgets 1.3 million direct fatalities, effects of tailpipe emissions (not only greenhouse gases but toxic MTBE dripping into groundwater and VOCs otherwise prevalent), and other diseases indirectly attributable (cardiovascular, cancer). Comprehensively, motoring is responsible for ~60% of all deaths. By contrast, collectively, murder, violence and warfare only equal 3%.