Missouri bills seek to protect drivers from criminal penalties if they hit protesters

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 11:04 AM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Two Missouri lawmakers have sponsored bills for the 2021 session that seek to protect drivers from criminal penalties if they hit protesters.

The bills are sponsored by Missouri Rep. Adam Schnelting (R-St. Charles) and Sen.-elect Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville).

Rep. Schnelting has filed HB 56, also cited as the “Fleeing Motorist Protection Act.” He tweeted Thursday the bill would ensure motorists “who are trapped in their vehicle during a riot are civilly and criminally protected under state law.”

The bill, filed last week, does not intend to change state laws on vehicular assault or gross negligence, according to Schnelting.

According to text from HB 56:

“If a person attempts to flee in a motor vehicle from an unlawful or riotous assemblage, such person shall not be criminally or civilly liable for any deaths or injuries to any individual participating in the unlawful or riotous assemblage that may result if the person reasonably believes he or she or any occupant of the motor vehicle is in danger.”

Sen.-elect Brattin is pushing for a similar bill, filed as SB 66.

The bill would remove liability from a driver if they hit someone taking part in a protest, but it does not excuse gross negligence.

According to text from SB 66:

“Any person operating a motor vehicle who 2 injures another person with the motor vehicle shall not be 3 liable for any damages if, at the time of the injury:

(1) The person operating the motor vehicle was exercising due care; and SB 66

(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 10 any act or omission of the person operating the motor 11 vehicle that constitutes gross negligence.”

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