North Dakota lawmaker's bill protects drivers who negligently hit someone obstructing traffic

Published January 17, 2017

A lawmaker in North Dakota sponsored a bill that would reportedly protect drivers who inadvertently hit pedestrians blocking traffic.

The Star Tribune reported Monday that the legislation is a response to protests at Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and sponsored by state Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman.

"If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue," he told the paper. "Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road….Those people didn't ask to be in this."

Kempenich told the paper that the law's intent is to shift the blame from the driver to the person who was in the road who should not have legally been there. According to the report, Kempenich said he was concerned about panicked drivers who see a mob of protesters coming in their direction and hit the gas instead of the brake.

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