A vulnerable road user (VRU) is anyone who is on or alongside a roadway without the protective hard covering of a metal automobile. The term includes bicycle riders, pedestrians, motorcyclists, people in wheelchairs, police, first responders, roadway workers and other users like a person on a skateboard or scooter. It is meant to include people who are especially at risk of serious bodily harm if hit by a car, SUV or truck.
The term is commonly used in relation to the argument state laws need to give sentencing judges more ability to up the punishment imposed on a driver who injures a vulnerable road user. Florida currently has no such law. It is very common for a driver who kills or seriously injures a VRU to just be given a ticket for careless driving. In recent years, there have been several well publicized accidents in the Tampa Bay area and other Florida cities involving a distracted driver striking and killing a pedestrian or cyclist. Some of these horrible crashes, resulted in the driver simply getting a small fine. Judges have complained the law gives them no ability to impose a greater punishment when the driver was not also convicted of a crime such as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident with injury or reckless driving.
Many groups are working to have the Legislature pass a Vulnerable Road User law to give Florida judges the ability to impose jail time and increased fines in these cases where they are cited with only a moving violation. One of the best known laws is the one enacted in Oregon. Many consider it a model for other states.
Finding the right lawyer to handle your Florida injury case is a very important decision. For a complimentary review of the facts of your case and to learn how we can assist you, call Jim Dodson Law at 727-446-0840.