Proposed Missouri bill to protect drivers if they hit protestors

Mid-South

ST LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 24: Protestors block Interstate 64 during a protest action on September 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Protests have been taking place nationwide in response to the Kentucky grand jury’s determination of no charges were brought against the officers related to the death of Breonna Taylor. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS, Mo (KTVI) — Two Missouri lawmakers are sponsoring legislation for the 2021 session that would shield drivers from criminal penalties if they hit a protestor during a demonstration.

State Rep. Adam Schnelting (R- St. Charles) filed HB5 otherwise known as the Fleeing Motorist Protection Act.

Schnelting tweeted that his proposed bill would ensure motorists who are trapped in their vehicle during a riot are civilly and criminally protected under state law.

“When I consider the prospect of my sweet wife and three-year-old daughter being caught in a riot, and when I consider all of the young mothers and elderly constituents I have being harmed by rioters, they should have every right to protect themselves by flight without having their lives destroyed by litigious rioters afterwards,” said Rep. Schnelting in a statement to NewsNation affiliate KTVI about why he decided to sponsor the legislation.

Schnelting said two conditions must be met for these motorists’ protections. The motorist must be caught in the mob and, the motorist must reasonably believe they are in danger – a similar standard to what already exists in our laws through the Castle Doctrine.

On the other side of the state, State Senator-elect Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) has filed a similar bill. It would remove liability from a driver if they hit someone taking part in a protest. It also does not excuse gross negligence.

Here is text from SB66:

Any person operating a motor vehicle who injures another person with the motor vehicle shall not be liable for any damages if, at the time of the injury:

(1) The person operating the motor vehicle was exercising due care; and

(2) The person injured was blocking traffic in a public right-of-way while participating in a protest or demonstration.

2. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any act or omission of the person operating the motor vehicle that constitutes gross negligence.

STATE SEN. RICK BRATTIN’S PROPOSED LEGISLATION

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