Pennsylvania lawmakers propose bad-driver bills

| Thursday, June 19, 2003

Two proposals before the Pennsylvania General Assembly would deal more harshly with reckless and aggressive drivers.

State Sen. Joe Conti, R-Doylestown, has introduced legislation that ups the ante for road recklessness. SB805 would charge any person with reckless driving who drives a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others.

Violators would be fined $200. A conviction of reckless driving that resulted in a victim being seriously injured could net the offender a fine up to $7,500.

HB1240, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Melio, D-Levittown, would charge someone with aggressive driving “if the person operates a vehicle in a manner which tends to harass, annoy or alarm another person” while breaking at least two traffic laws.

Under Melio’s bill, a penalty of aggressive driving would be a misdemeanor. An aggressive driving conviction for which a victim was badly injured would result in a felony, punishable for at least 90 days in jail and a minimum $1,000 fine.

The offenses that would have to be violated to charge someone with aggressive driving include running a red light, running a stop sign, following too closely, failing to yield right-of-way, illegal passing and racing on a highway.

Both bills are under review in their chamber’s transportation committee.