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3/7/2005
California May Limit High Speed Chases
A California state legislator has introduced a bill designed to cut down on high-speed chases.

Fox Covers Car Chase
The high-speed chases familiar to regular viewers of Fox Newschannel may be coming to an end if California legislators have their way. State Sen. Sam Aanestad (R) is looking to eliminate a law giving police automatic immunity when bystanders are injured in a pursuit.

"The innocent bystander who is hurt or killed from a high-speed police chase is nothing less than the most vulnerable innocent victim not, 'collateral damage,'" Aanestad said as he introduced SB 718 at a press conference today. He argues that his bill will make police think twice before entering into a dangerous pursuit.

A state senate committee will consider his bill on Wednesday. Police officials are promoting alternative legislation that would increase penalties on drivers who attempt to evade police without eliminating their liability protection.

Article Excerpt:
SB 718, as introduced BY Senators Aanestad and Romero FEBRUARY 22, 2005

An act to add Section 2800.5 to the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
Existing law makes it a misdemeanor, or a felony, for a person while operating a motor vehicle, to intentionally evade, willfully flee, or otherwise attempt to evade a pursuing peace officer's motor vehicle or bicycle, as specified.

This bill would enact Kristie's Law and would express the intent of the Legislature to eliminate any unnecessary risks that evolve from motor vehicle pursuits and to ensure that these pursuits can be conducted in the safest and most effective approach throughout California.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 2800.5 is added to the Vehicle Code , to read:

2800.5. (a) This section shall be known as "Kristie's Law."
(b)The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Suspects who flee from police officers show no concern for their own safety, or that of the peace officer or the public.
(2) Motor vehicle pursuits of fleeing suspects present inescapable and inherent risks.
(3) According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California has consistently led the nation in the past 20 years in fatalities from crashes involving motor vehicle pursuits.
(4) A primary function of all law enforcement agencies is to protect the public against personal injury, death, or property damage.
(5) It is the intention of Kristie's Law to eliminate any unnecessary risks that evolve from motor vehicle pursuits, and to ensure that motor vehicle pursuits can be conducted in the safest and most effective approach throughout California.
Source: Bills to cool off cops hot pursuits (Associated Press, 3/7/2005)



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