The Washington Senate voted 43-5 to pass SB 5326, otherwise known as the Vulnerable User Bill. This is a major hurdle to passage.
The trials for the bill are not over. A similar bill must pass in the House, the Conference Committee must revise any differences between the two, and the governor must sign it.
However, the Senate was considered the more difficult house of Congress for this bill, so passage today is a very good sign.
The Vulnerable User Bill is a no-brainer. It simply asks for those who kill or injure people due to negligence are forced to face what they have done. Mailing in a ticket is not enough. The bill would establish a $5,000 fine (can be reduced to $1,000), and the driver could lose driving privileges for 90 days and required to complete community service.
The Washington bill is also far less punitive than similar bills in other states. In Maryland and New Mexico, bills aim to criminalize negligent driving, according to Biking Bis. Maryland’s bill could establish sentences of up to three years in jail if a person’s negligence behind the wheel results in a death.
UPDATE 12:54 p.m. – Nobody rose to speak against SB 5326, and only Senators Baxter, Benton, Hargrove, Honeyford and Stevens voted against it. HB 1339 was recently placed on second reading and has a few more weeks to get passed, but Cascade is optimistic:
Please use this link to send a quick thank-you email to your senator. The Vulnerable User Bill would not have made it this far without the efforts of the senators who sponsored the bill and the thousands of supporters who contacted their legislators over the past three years.While we’re technically halfway there, the house companion Vulnerable User Bill was just placed on second reading and has another couple of weeks to get passed. There are still a number of steps before we can declare victory, but with such overwhelming support in the senate, it’s likely that the house will vote in favor as well. Thank you!