Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Albuquerque Journal: Fix the Careless Driving Law So Justice is Served
I cut out the part of the op-ed about the definition of burglary, which was the first part of this Journal Op-Ed. Go to the original to read the whole thing. My thanks to the Journal, and not just as a bicyclist, for writing this.
(snip)..."Similarly, the Legislature is the only recourse for families of victims and bicycle safety advocates who think sentencing options for drivers who kill or severely injure bicyclists are inadequate.
Case in point: Carol Svinarich, who struck and killed a bicyclist with her SUV in January — could have gotten 90 days in jail and a $300 fine for her no contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving. But Svinarich, who had a DWI arrest after Scott “Dwane” Lane’s death, was sentenced Friday to 90 days of home arrest with an alcohol-sensing ankle bracelet. She will have to pay the $300 fine and $17,560 in restitution to the family for medical and other costs, but to the family the sentence is an insult.
The Duke City Wheelmen bicyclists group intends to ask the Legislature for tougher punishments and also says clarifying the distinction between careless driving, a misdemeanor, and reckless driving, a felony, would be “a huge step.”
Whether through a clearer or expanded definition of burglary or through penalties that better take into account to severity of harm a motor vehicle can inflict on a bicyclist, at the end of the day the public should feel justice has been served.
If the law needs tweaking, then the Legislature should give these two issues thoughtful consideration."