New Colorado law increases penalties for drivers who hit bicyclists, pedestrians and construction workers

When a painter hit Douglas Howey with his work truck in 2012, the accident left the former tube State physical science professor paralytic from the waist down.

The driver, whom Howey aforementioned hit him as he walked down a pavement near his home, paid a $171 fine and had one point added to his driver’s license.

“There was no justice, but today that is changed,” Howey aforementioned.

What changed Wednesday is that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law that increases the penalties for hit a “vulnerable road user” so much as a bicyclist, construction worker, officer or person like Howey who was just taking a walk around his neighborhood.

Senate Bill 175 makes careless driving in which a vulnerable road user gets seriously injured a class 1 traffic misdemeanor. It gives Judges the authority to order restitution and suspend a driver’s license for up to one year as well as require the motorist to attend driver improvement courses or perform public service. It passed the Colorado House and Senate with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. Only two senators and five representatives voted against it.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, who sponsored the bill, aforementioned he habitually sees repeat careless drivers come through the 5th Judicial District, where he works as a deputy district attorney. It frustrates him, but he has to follow existing law.

Related Articles

  • influx of children at Arizona’s border shows immigration system on brink

The repeat-offender narrative hit home for bill supporter Adelaide Perr of Boulder, who was injured in an October 2014 bike accident.

“The driver who hit me had 17 prior traffic infractions,” Perr told The Denver Post on Wednesday. “He had caused four prior crashes and after he got condemned he had four points on his license, and he continued to drive.”

Perr, on the other hand, spent six months convalescent and lives with a scar that stretches from her lips, crosswise her cheek and around her neck. She besides had to buy a car for the first time in years.

“There are years where my posttraumatic stress disorder is too severe to ride, and so for the rest of my life I will probably own a car as a result,” Perr aforementioned. “So, piece he got to keep his primary mode of transportation, I forever lost mine and that was a very hard pill to swallow.”