AMA "Justice for All" Campaign

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by Hozhead, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Hozhead

    Hozhead <img src="/images/ranks/site_founder.gif" alt="BRN

    The AMA, in continuing efforts to look out for the safety and welfare of motorcyclists is seeking harsher punishment for motorists causing accidents that lead to the injury or death of motorcyclists.

    http://www.amadirectlink.com/justice/

    The AMA's Justice for All Campaign

    Facing up to the consequences of crashes

    A van driver in Iowa crosses the center line of the road, running head-on into a group of six motorcyclists. Three are killed, and two more are seriously injured. The driver gets off with a fine of $70?less than an average speeding ticket.

    In Oklahoma, a driver runs over a motorcyclist who was slowing to make a right turn. The driver pleads guilty to negligent homicide. She is sentenced to 30 months probation and ordered to perform unspecified "acts of kindness."

    A U.S. congressman from South Dakota with a long history of traffic offenses blows through a stop sign at over 70 mph, causing a crash that kills a motorcyclist. A jury takes just a couple of hours to convict the driver of second-degree manslaughter, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. The judge gives him just 100 days.

    Outrageous? We think so. And there are literally dozens of cases just like them across the country, in which drivers seriously injure or kill motorcyclists, then get off with little more than a slap on the wrist.

    Tragedies like these have prompted the AMA to establish the Justice for All Campaign, which focuses on inadequate sentencing of drivers who seriously injure or kill others on the road. This campaign seeks to get three measures passed in all 50 states. These measures will:

    * Increase penalties, including jail time, for those who commit manslaughter with a motor vehicle.
    * Impose fines and driver's license suspensions on drivers who commit traffic offenses that injure or kill others.
    * Get motorcyclist-awareness instruction included in each state's driver-education program.

    This is a massive campaign, potentially involving 150 different pieces of legislation. And we need your help to succeed. Motorcyclists in Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Washington already have been successful in getting elements of the Justice for All Campaign written into state law. And dozens of groups have signed on in support of the effort.

    But we need much more. We need individual riders?people like you?to work with the AMA's Government Relation Department to get this campaign in gear in your state.

    Do you have a state legislator who's an old friend or a neighbor? Have you supported a state lawmaker in his or her election bid? Did you go to school with someone who went on to a state political career? We need your help in making contacts with people who can get Justice for All legislation introduced.

    Don't have those political contacts? We need you, too. You can help organize other riders and put together campaigns to get our legislation passed.

    Do you know someone?a friend or family member?who was injured or killed by a driver who got off with little punishment? You have a special reason to get involved.

    Go to the "Sign Me Up!" box at right and click on the link that best describes you. That'll take you to a signup screen where we'll get a little information about you. Then, the AMA's Government Relation Department will be in touch to help organize the Justice for All Campaign in your state.

    Want to read more about the Justice for All legislation? You can get all the details here: http://www.amadirectlink.com/justice/whatwerefightingfor.asp
     
  2. Hozhead

    Hozhead <img src="/images/ranks/site_founder.gif" alt="BRN

    AMA "Justice for All" What We're Fighting For

    An additional portion of the AMA write up regarding the "Justice for All" campaign.

    http://www.amadirectlink.com/justice/whatwerefightingfor.asp

    Justice for All
    What we?re fighting for


    What is a reasonable penalty for a car driver who kills or seriously injures a motorcyclist, bicyclist, pedestrian, or even another car driver?

    We know what?s not reasonable: The $70 fine imposed on an Iowa driver for crossing the center line of a highway and killing three motorcyclists. The sentence handed down to an Oklahoma woman, putting her on probation for 30 months and ordering her to perform unspecified ?acts of kindness and generosity? after she pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for killing a motorcyclist who was slowing to make a right turn. The 10-day suspended sentence and three-month driver?s-license suspension for an Ohio driver convicted of vehicular homicide after backing out of a driveway into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, who was killed.

    None of those penalties comes close to addressing the consequences of those crashes. But what is reasonable? That?s the complex question we?ve tried to deal with in developing the AMA?s Justice for All legislation.

    One of the key issues is whether a particular crash should be treated as a traffic matter, which could result in charges like failure to yield right of way, or whether it rises to the level of criminal offenses, like vehicular manslaughter.

    In many states, the distinction is based on words like ?reckless disregard for the safety of others.? If a prosecutor determines that a driver?s actions fit that definition, then criminal charges could be filed.

    In writing model legislation that we hope to get introduced in all 50 states, the AMA has tried to address both categories. We have written one bill directed at traffic violations, like failure to yield right of way, and another aimed at felony offenses arising from traffic crashes.

    The right-of-way legislation seeks to impose fines on drivers who commit traffic offenses that injure or kill others. But the main thrust is on driver?s-license suspensions designed to get dangerous drivers off the road?at least for a period of time.

    For those cases that involve felonies like vehicular manslaughter, we?ve written a separate bill that seeks fines, license suspensions and incarceration. That bill would, for instance, seek to impose a minimum one-year prison sentence on anyone convicted of a felony after killing someone in a traffic crash.

    There are two important things to remember about these bills: First, they?re not designed to turn someone who makes a simple mistake while driving into a criminal. Only drivers convicted of a felony would face jail time.

    Second, these penalties don?t just apply to crashes in which motorcyclists are the victims. If a car driver acts with ?reckless disregard for the safety of others? and kills another car driver, the same penalty would apply. In fact, they could apply to a speeding motorcyclist who runs down a pedestrian or bicyclist, too.

    The idea is to recognize that driving (and riding) is a serious responsibility. The consequences of mistakes can be high for victims, and they should be high for offenders, too.

    There is one more part of the Justice for All legislation that does single out motorcyclists. It?s a separate bill that we?d like to get passed to include motorcyclist-awareness instruction in each state?s driver-education program. This information, developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, is vital to getting car drivers to watch for motorcycles on the road.

    Together, those three bills form the basis for the AMA Justice for All campaign. Working with motorcyclists in all states over the coming years, we hope to get all three introduced?and passed?in every state.
     

  3. Hozhead

    Hozhead <img src="/images/ranks/site_founder.gif" alt="BRN

    The AMA proposed legislation for enhanced penalties:

    http://www.amadirectlink.com/justice/whatwerefightingfor.asp

    Recommended enhanced penalties for right-of-way traffic violations

    1) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused injury may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $200 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 30 days.

    2) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused serious bodily injury may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $500 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 90 days.

    3) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused a fatality may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $1,000 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 6 months.

    The AMA further recommends that priority be given to incorporating these enhanced penalties with the right-of-way violations most often associated with motorcycle injuries and fatalities...those occurring in intersections, while turning left, at stop signs and yield signs.

    Recommended enhanced penalties for felony offenses involving motor vehicles

    1) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony offense (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused injury to another through use or operation of any type of motor vehicle may, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be fined $1000 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 180 days.

    2) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony offense (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused serious bodily injury to another through use or operation of any type of motor vehicle may, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be fined $2000, have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 1 year and be incarcerated for 90 days.

    3) Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony offense (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused a fatality to another through use or operation of any type of motor vehicle may, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be fined $5,000, have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 3 years and be incarcerated for 1 year.

    Recommended motorcycle awareness component in state driver education curriculum

    All driver education courses shall include information on motorcycle awareness, as approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) or other recognized motorcycle safety organization, in instructional materials used in traffic safety education courses to ensure new operators of motor vehicles have been instructed in the importance of safely sharing the road with motorcycles.
     
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