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Vehicular homicide bill in Georgia Senate
Legislative update: The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, supporting Georgia Bikes, recently testified on behalf of a vehicular homicide bill sponsored by Senator Curt Thompson (District 5).
This bill would give law enforcement the option to impose stiffer fines and sentencing in cases of accidental death with a vehicle. Currently, they can only charge as a misdemeanor unless the vehicle hits and kills someone while overtaking a school bus, or involves a hit and run, reckless driving, DUI or fleeing an officer incident -- those carry felony charges.
SB 116: A bill to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 40-6-393 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to homicide by vehicle, so as to increase the penalty for homicide by vehicle in the second degree from a misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
While nothing can bring back a loved one in the case of a fatal crash, this bill would allow prosecutors more flexibility in bringing charges in cases, and show that the state values human life more highly than a $1,000 fine.
Status: The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee unanimously, then was "held" (no action taken) by the Ramsey Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
We hope this bill will make it to the floor for a vote. Please contact your representative to ask for their support (visit votesmart.org if you're not sure who is yours).
Here's the basic message: "We need to give law enforcement tools to be able to charge people who are responsible for vehicular homicide with something stronger than a misdemeanor. Support SB 116."