Do you live in North Dakota? Do you have friends or family who do? Call your state legislators and ask them to oppose HB 1203, which would protect a driver who accidentally hits a protester who is blocking a roadway.
The bill evidently grew from frustration with protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Some protesters have taken to blocking roadways and slowing traffic.
HB 1203 states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who, while exercising reasonable care, causes injury or death to an individual who is intentionally obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway may not be held liable for any damages.”
Protests are supposed to be inconvenient. That’s part of the point. And now might be the worst possible time to try to pass a state bill such as this. As much as state legislators might claim that HB 1203 is not a free pass for drivers to play Death Race 2000: Standing Rock Edition, that could well be the result.
Find your state senators and house representatives, or help your North Dakota friends and family find theirs (you’ll need to plug in your address and zip code):
Sample script for your state house reps (But only for those who live in North Dakota! If you don’t live there, don’t call!): “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am asking state house representative (Lastname) to oppose HB 1203, which would shield drivers from the consequences of accidentally hitting protesters who block a roadway. It is a bad idea, and it would be too tempting to people who have sick proclivities.”
Text of HB 1203 (this is the most recent version as of February 4):
More articles on the North Dakota house bill and its implications: