A Senate measure to help protect motorists and make Oklahoma’s roads safer has been signed into law by Governor Brad Henry. Senate Bill 1929, authored by Senator David Myers and Rep. Jim Newport, creates the David Jaggers Law, named after a long-time motorcycling enthusiast and active member in the Downed Bikers Association who was killed by a negligent, reckless motorist while riding his motorcycle.
“This is a public safety issue that desperately needs to be addressed. The number of motorcycle-related fatalities and injuries in our state has steadily increased in recent years,” said Myers. “Last year, more than 70 people were killed in motorcycle accidents and nearly 1,100 were injured. Unfortunately, many of these accidents weren’t caused by the motorcyclists, but by other irresponsible, inattentive and careless drivers. We’re hopeful that this bill will help protect these vulnerable motorists.”
Under provisions of this bill, any person convicted of, or who pleads guilty to, a traffic violation for failure to yield a right-of-way and who causes a fatality or serious bodily injury will be assessed a fee of up to $1,000.00 to be deposited in the Motorcycle Safety and Drunk Driving Awareness Fund. This fee will be in addition to any other fine or penalty charged against the violator.
Newport explained that the bill also creates a fund in the State Treasury for the Department of Public Safety to be designated the Motorcycle Safety and Drunk Driving Awareness Fund.
“The monies in this fund will be used to promote public awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance as well as promoting motorcycle safety and defensive driving for youth,” Newport said.
Finally, the measure amends the requirements to Oklahoma’s laws regarding when any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic. It specifies that a two-way left-turn lane is a lane near the center of the roadway set aside for use by vehicles making left turns in both directions from or into the roadway. A vehicle cannot be driven in a designated two-way left-turn lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into a roadway. However, the bill allows that vehicles turning left and crossing the roadway can now be driven in the two-way left-turn lane a distance of 200 feet while preparing for and making the turn. A vehicle also may use the two-way left-turn lane as a staging area by stopping and waiting for traffic proceeding in the same direction to clear before merging into the adjacent lanes of travel.
The new law will go into effect November 1, 2006.