Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Traffic Laws

I know that in the US traffic laws can vary from State to state, even city to city, depending on the issue. However my general understanding of how things work with regards to vehicles injuring pedestrian is that almost always the driver is at fault. It may also be partially the pedestrian's fault, but the pedestrian has right of way.

If a car hits a jay walker, then the jay walker gets cited for jay walking, and the driver gets cited for reckless driving. If a kid is being playing with his skateboard in the middle of a residential street, and gets hit, it is both the kid's and the driver's fault. If I choose to do something truly stupid like park my U-Haul, blocking traffic, in the middle of the street and lug boxes into my new house from the back, and a car hits me, then I get cited for obstruction of traffic, but the driver gets cited as well.

At least that's how I've understood the laws to work everywhere I've lived. And I think those laws are the way they should be. They are written to prevent people from doing stupid things and making life harder for drivers, but since a moving car can do more damage to a pedestrian, than the other way around (generally speaking) the majority of the responsibility is on the driver.

So could someone explain to me what the fuck is happening in DC?
Heidi Sippel says the driver intentionally struck them near the intersection of 7th Street and New York Ave. in Northwest, and they did not throw themselves in front of the car as the police claim.
"Before we had a chance to get out of the way, he stopped about five feet from us, revved his engine, threw up his hands and hit the gas," said Sippel, a protester from Vandalia, Ohio.
But instead of citing the driver, police gave Sippel, her partner, and son citations for obstructing traffic in the roadway.
The article I've linked to says that the driver has been identified but not been charged.

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