February 5th, 2014 —
The AMA Office will be closed today due to inclement weather and treacherous road conditions in Central Ohio.
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What We're Fighting For


What is a reasonable penalty for a car driver who kills or seriously injures a motorcyclist, bicyclist, pedestrian, or even another car driver?

We know what’s not reasonable: The $70 fine imposed on an Iowa driver for crossing the center line of a highway and killing three motorcyclists. The sentence handed down to an Oklahoma woman, putting her on probation for 30 months and ordering her to perform unspecified “acts of kindness and generosity” after she pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for killing a motorcyclist who was slowing to make a right turn. The 10-day suspended sentence and three-month driver’s-license suspension for an Ohio driver convicted of vehicular homicide after backing out of a driveway into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, who was killed.

None of those penalties comes close to addressing the consequences of those crashes. But what is reasonable? That’s the complex question we’ve tried to deal with in developing the AMA’s Justice for All legislation.

The right-of-way model legislation prepared by the AMA seeks to impose fines on drivers who commit traffic offenses that injure or kill others. But the main thrust is on driver’s-license suspensions designed to get dangerous drivers off the road—at least for a period of time.

These laws wouldn't just apply to crashes in which motorcyclists are the victims. If a car driver injures or kills another car driver, the same penalty would apply. In fact, they could apply to a speeding motorcyclist who runs down a pedestrian or bicyclist, too.

The idea is to recognize that driving (and riding) is a serious responsibility. The consequences of mistakes can be high for victims, and they should be high for offenders, too.

There is one more part of the Justice for All legislation that does single out motorcyclists. It’s a separate bill that we’d like to get passed to include motorcyclist-awareness instruction in each state’s driver-education program. This information, developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, is vital to getting car drivers to watch for motorcycles on the road.

Together, these bills form the basis for the AMA Justice for All campaign. Working with motorcyclists in all states over the coming years, we hope to get them introduced—and passed—in every state.

Model Legislation Prepared By The AMA


Recommended enhanced penalties for right-of-way traffic violations

  1. Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused injury may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $200 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 30 days.
  2. Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused serious bodily injury may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $500 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 90 days.
  3. Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a right-of-way violation (or a violation of section xxxx, etc.,) in which the offender is found to have caused a fatality may, in addition to any other penalties, be fined $1,000 and have their driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privilege suspended for 6 months.

The AMA further recommends that priority be given to incorporating these enhanced penalties with the right-of-way violations most often associated with motorcycle injuries and fatalities...those occurring in intersections, while turning left, at stop signs and yield signs.

Recommended motorcycle awareness component in state driver education curriculum

All driver education courses shall include information on motorcycle awareness, as approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) or other recognized motorcycle safety organization, in instructional materials used in traffic safety education courses to ensure new operators of motor vehicles have been instructed in the importance of safely sharing the road with motorcycles.