I've talked about this before. If someone drives negligently in Maryland (lets say they are speeding and fumbling with the radio, eyes off the road, etc. etc.) and they hit and kill you, they are slapped with a $500 fine. Sound fair?
The reason for this is that Maryland applies a very high (and increasingly unusual) standard of "gross negligence" to cases where a person's reckless driving causes the death of another. This means that you have to be driving while intoxicated or practically TRYING to mow someone down before you get anything more than the fine.
Case in point - a Howard County police officer was killed last Summer by a person driving well over the speed limit and this driver's punishment was - you guessed it - $500. Sure, it was an accident. But some accidents are avoidable. And negligent driving is VERY avoidable.
HB 667 would remedy this problem by creating the crime of "Manslaughter by Vehicle". It would give a fine and jail time to someone who kills due to reckless and negligent driving. If passed, it would put Maryland in line with over 30 other states with similar laws.
What we want from you is to contact your members of the House of Delegates and ask them if they know about this legislation and if they would support it. If your delegate is on the House Judiciary Committee that is currently reviewing this bill, please make sure to call or email that person.
This bill has died in committee before, but we have to at least bring more attention to it. Right now its flying under the radar and that's a shame. [End of One Less Car's text, begin Baltimore Spokes text]
Text of the bill: <a href="http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/bills/hb/hb0667f.pdf">http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/bills/hb/hb0667f.pdf</a>
I'm going out on a limb and guess that it is the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUBCOMMITTEE that is the key here:
(Why the heck is this info not readily available even a phone call to the House Judiciary Committee could not tell me.)
Remember full name, address and phone number when writing.
CURTIS STOVALL (CURT) ANDERSON
Democrat, District 43, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3291, (301) 858-3291
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3291 (toll free)
VICTOR R. RAMIREZ
Democrat, District 47, Prince George's County
(410) 841-3340, (301) 858-3340
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3340 (toll free)
MICHAEL D. SMIGIEL, SR.
Republican, District 36, Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne's Counties
(410) 841-3555, (301) 858-3555
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3555 (toll free)
JEFFREY D. WALDSTREICHER
Democrat, District 18, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3130, (301) 858-3130
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3130 (toll free)
If you representative is not listed here then check the House Judiciary Committee: <a href="http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/com/05jud.html">http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/com/05jud.html</a>