New Colorado law increases penalties for drivers who hit bicyclists, pedestrians and construction workers | VailDaily.com

New Colorado law increases penalties for drivers who hit bicyclists, pedestrians and construction workers

ANNA STAVER | The Denver Post
Bicyclists on Vail Pass
Jennifer Mewes | Special to the Daily |

When a painter hit Douglas Howey with his work truck in 2012, the accident left the former Metro State physics professor paralyzed from the waist down.

The driver, whom Howey said hit him as he walked down a sidewalk near his home, paid a $171 fine and had one point added to his driver’s license.

“There was no justice, but today that is changed,” Howey said.

What changed Wednesday is that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law that increases the penalties for hitting a “vulnerable road user” such as a bicyclist, construction worker, officer or someone like Howey who was just taking a walk around his neighborhood.

Senate Bill 175 makes careless driving in which a vulnerable road user gets seriously injured a class 1 traffic misdemeanor. It gives judges the authority to order restitution and suspend a driver’s license for up to one year as well as require the motorist to attend driver improvement courses or perform public service. It passed the Colorado House and Senate with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. Only two senators and five representatives voted against it.

Read the full story via The Denver Post.