Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 6th, 2008 at 9:46 am
"Tim and I would have been married 50 years this April but I celebrated this anniversary
by myself because a dangerous driver ran him down on his bike."
-- Mary O'Donnell
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) announced yesterday that they will pursue a vehicular homicide law in the 2009 session of the Oregon State Legislature.
They plan to make a public announcement at a press conference on Monday (June 9) in the law offices of the attorneys representing the family of the late Tim O'Donnell -- a 66 year-old Aloha resident who was killed while riding his bike on a rural road in Washington County last year.
Mary O'Donnell (Tim's widow) will be on hand for the announcement.
A press release issued by the BTA states that they are seeking a new vehicular homicide law for Oregon, "to better protect roadway users by increasing penalties for drivers who cause deaths as a result of their habitual violation of traffic laws." The BTA will hope to establish the law as a Class B Felony.
Oregon is one of only four states without a vehicular homicide law (the others are Alaska, Montana, and Arizona).
The woman who struck and killed Tim O'Donnell was driving with an Idaho driver's license after her Oregon license was suspended for failing to appear in court on a ticket she received for driving without insurance.
The BTA also released some preliminary legal language of the proposed new law:
"Violation of traffic laws by a driver resulting in death to a person on Oregon's roadways, streets or highways where the driver is driving with a Drivers’ License Suspended in Oregon or any other state, or is impaired as a result of the use of alcohol or drugs, or is driving without current Automobile Liability Insurance."
In a statement issued through the BTA, Mary O'Donnell said that,
"Some drivers have been suspended multiple times and continue to drive. It is inexcusable and unacceptable for the state to continue to allow them to flaunt the law and to endanger everybody else who is using our roads including other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians."
Here are the details of the press conference:
Press Conference to Announce Vehicular Homicide Law Campaign
10am - Monday, June 9th
Swanson Thomas & Coon, Attorneys at Law (820 SW 2nd Avenue., Suite 200)
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- Vehicular homicide bill introduction more strategy than substance
- Widow pushes vehicular homicide law: “It's what he would have wanted”
- BTA: Vehicular homicide bill is "alive and kicking"
- Alice Awards in June, vehicular homicide, and other updates from BTA Board Chair