Missouri bills push to protect drivers if they hit protestors


ST. LOUIS- Two Missouri lawmakers are sponsoring legislation for the 2021 session that involves shielding drivers from criminal penalties if they hit a protestor during a demonstration.

State Rep. Adam Schnelting (R- St. Charles) filed HB56. It is called the Fleeing Motorist Protection Act.

Rep. Schnelting tweeted that his proposed bill would ensure motorists who are trapped in their vehicle during a riot are civilly and criminally protected under state law.

His tweet also gave the example that if your grandparents are caught in a mob and are being threatened, they shouldn’t be held liable for inadvertently hitting a rioter if they flee the scene in order to save those in the car from physical danger.

“When I consider the prospect of my sweet wife and three-year-old daughter being caught in a riot, and when I consider all of the young mothers and elderly constituents I have being harmed by rioters, they should have every right to protect themselves by flight without having their lives destroyed by litigious rioters afterwards,” said Rep. Schnelting in a statement to FOX2 about why he decided to sponsor the legislation.

Rep. Schnelting also explained two conditions must be met for these motorists’ protections. The motorist must be caught in the mob and, the motorist must reasonably believe they are in danger – a similar standard to what already exists in our laws through the Castle Doctrine.

Related Story: Man identified after fatal accident with a truck during a St. Louis demonstration Saturday

Here is the text from HB56:

If a person attempts to flee in a motor vehicle from an unlawful or riotous assemblage, such person shall not be criminally or civilly liable for any deaths or injuries to any individual participating in the unlawful or riotous assemblage that may result if the person reasonably believes he or she or any occupant of the motor vehicle is in danger.

Fleeing Motorist Protection Act

On the other side of the state, State Senator-elect Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) has filed a similar bill. It would remove liability from a driver if they hit someone taking part in a protest. It also does not excuse gross negligence.

Here is text from SB66:

Any person operating a motor vehicle who injures another person with the motor vehicle shall not be liable for any damages if, at the time of the injury:

(1) The person operating the motor vehicle was exercising due care; and

(2) The person injured was blocking traffic in a public right-of-way while participating in a protest or demonstration.

2. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any act or omission of the person operating the motor vehicle that constitutes gross negligence.

State Sen. Rick Brattin’s proposed legislation

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