Monday, June 29, 2009

Enough Already - Amish Buggy Crash Cites Need For Vulnerable User Law

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer recounts a horrible crash where a 19 Year Old driver slammed into an Amish Buggy which killed a young mother and the horse while critically injuring the father and an infant child on Route 41 a road with wide shoulders just east of the Lancaster-Chester County line.

There are a many thoughts in my mind as to how this type of crash can be been prevented: Lowering speed limits and traffic calming on rural roads adjacent to Amish populations, educating drivers to look out for vulnerable road users and having the State Police curtail speeders on these roads with radar. Believe it or not, local law enforcement in PA is forbidden to use radar.

Besides fixing that absurd law, the State Legislature can and should pass a vulnerable road user law which penalizes the driver that hits a vulnerable road user is subject to a fine and possible license suspension. A recent post on the Virginia Bicycling Federation blog sums it up well:

Whether the accident occurred through inattentiveness or incompetency, the driver doesn’t even merit a look by officials to see if they should continue to have a license. They are free to go back out and kill or injure someone else...

...would provide law enforcement with a useful tool for charging drivers who cause serious injury or death to other users of the public way. “I didn’t see him or her” will no longer be automatically excusable.

To our knowledge none of the recent bike crashes including the incident at MLK drive crosswalk and the Taxi that ran down a cyclist and took off on Broad Street has resulted in any sort of charges.

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Peter said...

why wouldn't we want people sent to jail for these types of crimes?

Anonymous said...

uh peter things happen and the driver is a very dear friend of mine. and it wasnt a crime do a little more research thanks.

Peter said...

it's not a crime today to do a whole bunch of awful things. and it wasn't a crime back in the day to do even worse things. and it used to be illegal to do all sorts of good things. and then people got together and said, 'enough!'

you can defend people who maim and kill as long as you like. you can threaten them with citations. you can do all that, but i'm gonna call it as i see it -- i want justice.

thanks so much for your kind words, 'anonymouse'.

Anonymous said...

The driver killed one person and critically injured two others. That hardly falls under the category of "oops I didn't see them" at 7am, in full daylight.

The driver wasn't paying attention and killed someone. If had hit a car and done this he would have been charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Andrew J. Besold said...

Anon #2

If I use device "X" and by total freak accident I kill a person with "X" I go to jail and society doesn't even question it.

Now on the other hand if I use device "Y" and by total freak accident I kill a person with "Y" I get to go home and never even face charges.

Sounds crazy and illogical right but it happens all the time.

"X" is gun and "Y" is a car.

Anonymous said...

I live about 5 miles form this accident. I was home that morning, there was no fog and no rain. It was a clear summer morning. What was this boy doing that her drove right in to the rear of this buggy? All of us that live near the Amish know they are on the roads, we should ALL take care no to get to close to the buggy or the horse. It seems to me that this needs to be looked into more by the police and charges should be brought againist this reckless driver. If he would have hit a car it would be a different story. If we see signs along the road to "share with bikes" we all need to "share with buggies"

Anonymous in Gap, Pa.