HB0360 to change the consequences for reckless endangerment

MARYLAND – Reckless and negligent driving, now getting serious consequences.

The bill was vetoed last year so that it could be modified. The legislation says a person charged with reckless or negligent driving must appear in court and not prepay a fine if a crash results in a fatality. One of the bill sponsors, Wayne Hartman says that this bill surrounds issues of reckless endangerment, burnouts, and exhibition driving that’s often seen in ocean city for H2OI.

Under the current law, reckless drivers can pay a fine however with this bill, the consequences will be harsher for the negligent driver. “To increase the fines, like I said this bill allows for imprisonment, impoundment of the vehicle, and it takes that player out of the equation, helps us in that regard with a large group, and I think it’s going to be very powerful across the state,” says Delegate Wayne Hartman.

Delegate Hartman says the Ocean City Police Department Chief and the Ocean City Mayor are set to testify in support of the bill.

The Ocean City Police Department sent 47 ABC this statement:

“Chief Ross Buzzuro will be providing support testimony for House Bill 208 and Senate Bill 147. Both of these bills focus on Street Racing and Exhibition Driving – Prohibited Acts, Enforcement, and Penalties.In April 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the “Special Event Zone” bill into law, allowing authorities in Worcester County to designate Special Event Zones during large events, particularly motor events. The legislation allows officials to lower speed limits in the Special Event Zone.   In addition, legislation signed in 2020 allowed for increased penalties for specific motor vehicle violations.  Similar to a Construction Zone, violators will face increased fines, or in some cases arrest, if violations occur in a Special Event Zone. Special Event Zones are in place during motor events in Ocean City due to the high volume of motor vehicles and pedestrians on/near the roadways. The zone can be implemented for authorized and unauthorized events to ensure the safety of those in our town.Ocean City currently establishes a Special Event Zone three times each year. The Special Event Zone coincides with Cruisin Ocean City, Endless Summer Cruisin and the Pop-up Rally event. With thousands of motorists on Coastal Highway during these events, the Special Event Zone helps deter motor violations. The lowered speed limit and increased fines and penalties in the Special Event Zone have been successful tools for law enforcement officers during large Motor Events. These types of events draw large crowds of pedestrians and spectators. The Special Event Zone helps to keep our pedestrians safe on the sidewalks and in the designated crosswalks.The Special Event Zone has been a great tool for our law enforcement to use to reduce reckless behavior we were seeing not only from drivers but also spectators/pedestrians. Chief Buzzuro will share with the committee’s how valuable the previous legislation has been to the Town of Ocean City. Any additional legislation that is considered will be an asset to keeping the Ocean City community safe.”

The bill is set to be heard tomorrow.

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