Monday, December 15, 2008

What's the difference between Assault by Auto and Careless Driving?

If I told you that a driver got charged with Careless Driving after killing a cyclist and another was charged with Assault by Auto for hitting, but not killing a pedestrian you might think I had my facts mixed up. Unfortunately that is not the case.

The (Bergen) Record reported on December 6th about a case where a plumber was unloading his truck and was seriously injured after he was hit by a driver who then fled the scene. The surprisingly, all too rare but seemingly appropriate charge of Assault by Auto was issued against that driver.

In the more tragic case of the cyclists killed by a driver, it currently seems that justice may be going astray. The Record this time twice reported the case of Camille Savoy who latter died and was memorialized
by fellow cyclists. In this case it seems that Savoy, an experienced and cautious cyclists, was hit and killed by a driver as he road close to the white line that demarcates the shoulder in a manner many are calling totally legal. How this only could only be Careless Driving is a question many want answered (read the extensive coverage, including photos of the scene, read the last 10 posts on this very good blog).

The remains of Savoy's bike as photographed by Rob Glick on Benepe's Bike Blog.

This is again another good reason for a "Safe Passing Law" preferably one that requires motorists to pass cyclists by "half the width of the lane."

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