Often, when a motor vehicle causes serious injury or death for a pedestrian or cyclist, it is labeled “an accident.” As long as the driver isn’t abusing alcohol or drugs and doesn’t flee the site of the accident, he or she can anticipate paying a minor fine, and typically won’t suffer any penalties. Even if the driver was texting on their phone, exceeding the speed limit, running a stop sign, or utilizing other irresponsible or illegal driving maneuvers, they will probably get away with it, simply by claiming it was an accident. Liability insurance covers payouts to dead and injured and those responsible walk away freely. 

What are Vulnerable User Laws?

Vulnerable user laws are sometimes referred to as vulnerable roadway user provisions. These types of legislation provide law enforcement and prosecutors with an increased set of penalties that replace what’s missing between basic traffic and more serious crimes. These laws establish a sort of middle ground between “no penalty” and “vehicular manslaughter.” If you cause serious injury or kill another person while violating a traffic law or while recklessly operating a motor vehicle, these laws go into effect.

Examples of Penalties

Vulnerable user laws enact stricter penalties for injuring someone on foot or on a bicycle. The hope is that police and prosecutors will be more likely to charge reckless drivers with options less severe than manslaughter but more severe than nothing. Some examples of these penalties include:
  • More substantial fines – those in Oregon can be up to $12,500
  • Suspended license
  • Community Service
  • Requirement of attending a traffic course
  • Gross Misdemeanor charge on your record

Where Are Vulnerable User Laws In Place?

Vulnerable Road User Protection Laws have been put into place in at least nine states. These include:
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • New York
  • Hawaii

Portland OR Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, contact the experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC. Call us at 503-233-6507 or contact us by e-mail.