Oklahoma House Republican Kevin McDugle introduced legislation
A new bill in Oklahoma seeks to protect drivers who are forced to hit street rioters who are blocking traffic and attacking their vehicles.
The legislation is sponsored by Oklahoma State Representative Kevin McDugle, a Republican.
McDugle’s bill gives protection to drivers of vehicles who hit rioters and protesters who run onto highways.
The legislation provides both criminal and civil immunity for people who inadvertently drive into crowds that attempt to halt traffic on roadways as a method of protest.
The bill originated after public Black Lives Matter protests roiled the country last summer.
In one incident, a pickup truck driving on Interstate 244 in Tulsa ran into three rioters who had attempted to block the road, surround, and attack the vehicle.
One man fell from an overpass in the process and became paralyzed from the waist down.
But McDugle said the driver of that truck was scared for his life and the life of his family that was with him.
Under the representative’s proposed law, protesters would know that venturing into traffic would be at their own risk, with no legal avenue to pursue should a vehicle strike them.
Other states like Iowa, Missouri, and Utah have introduced different measures to try to counter the dangers posed by the increasing lawlessness.
Some protesters oppose the new legislation. however.
Opponents say blocking roadways are the kind of status-quo-altering actions that must be engaged to make a point.
“The idea of escalating it to the point where you disrupt the convenience of the citizens and of the status quo, you have to do that sometimes to make a point,” said Oklahoma activist Mark Faulk, who opposes McDugle’s bill.
It’s unclear how much support the proposed law will garner.
Other bills in Oklahoma seek to punish those blocking roadways and public thoroughfares with jail time but stop short of criminal immunity for drivers who strike protesters.