SENATOR CAROZZA INTRODUCES BILL TO INCREASE PENALTIES ON CRIMINAL NEGLIGENT DRIVING
“My bill brings a just and fair penalty for criminal negligent driving that causes life-threatening injuries.”
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Senator Mary Beth Carozza (District 38) has introduced her first piece of legislation as a State Senator: Senate Bill 248—Criminal Law—Life-Threatening Injury Involving a Vehicle or Vessel—Criminal Negligence. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on SB 248 on February 12, 2019.
This legislation would establish the offense of a life-threatening injury by motor vehicle or vessel as criminal negligence. A violator is guilty of a misdemeanor and if convicted is subject to a maximum of 18 months imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. The current penalty for criminally negligent driving causing life-threatening injuries is a $500 motor vehicle citation. Similar legislation was introduced by Carozza during the 2017 Maryland General Assembly Session, HB 585, and passed in the House of Delegates unanimously with a vote of 140-0.
At the hearing Senator Carozza testified about a case from her community involving two Worcester County road workers, Scott Tatterson and Wade Pusey, who were struck by a criminally-negligent driver. The violent crash occurred on February 22, 2016, and left Mr. Tatterson dead and Mr. Pusey with several life-threatening injuries.
“This legislation provides a just penalty for people like Wade Pusey who has suffered life-threatening and life-sustaining injuries as result of criminally-negligent driving,” Senator Carozza added.
Wicomico County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Bill McDermott (former Worcester County State’s Attorney who worked on the Pusey case), Worcester County employee Wade Pusey and his mother Sharon Pusey traveled to Annapolis to testify in strong support of SB 248.
SB 248 has the strong endorsement of one of the most effective community highway safety organizations CRASH – County Resident Action for Safer Highways, along with the endorsements of Bike Maryland, the Maryland Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, and the Maryland State’s Attorneys Association.