The Vulnerable User Law is one that is designed to give the sentencing judge after an accident the ability to increase or enhance the punishment that they would give to the driver of the car that caused the accident.
Here’s a common scenario. If a driver of a car kills a pedestrian or kills a cyclist and they weren’t drunk and they didn’t leave the scene, in other words they did not commit a felony in addition to the accident they caused, then they might just end up with a careless driving citation. We have had some highly publicized cases in the Tampa Bay area where that exact same thing happened and people were incensed that someone lost their life and this person just receives a careless driving citation and a small fine.
Oregon and some other states have passed a law called the Vulnerable User Law. It’s designed that when a driver injures someone who’s particularly vulnerable to being hurt by a car, such as a pedestrian, a cyclist or a roadway worker, it gives the judge the ability to increase the fine and pose jail time if the circumstances of the case make it just to do so. So, it basically gives the sentencing judge more flexibility to impose a higher sentence when a vulnerable user is killed or injured because of the carelessness of a driver.