The Oak Ridge (link below) and Knoxville newspapers recently reported the outcome of the case regarding the tragic death of bicyclist John Daugherty in 2009. The three foot law played a critical role in the determination of charges against the motor vehicle's driver who killed John as he rode on the shoulder of the roadway. The driver entered a "no contest" guilty plea t0 criminal negligent homicide. He was sentenced to two years of probation with diversion and 200 hours of community service.
Bike Walk Tennessee board directors Mark Hicks and Jonell Johnson remained involved with the prosecuting Roane County District Attorney General Russell Johnson regarding the use of the three foot law in this case. They also expressed the concern of the bicycling community that similar previous incidences did not result in any criminal charges. Hopefully, this unfortunate case raises awareness of the consequences of distracted, inattentive driving behavior that results in injury or death.
The expanded “Due Care” law enacted July 1,2011 increases the penalties for distracted driving that results in injury or death of a person(s). Bike Walk Tennessee drafted the law and secured House and Senate legislative sponsors who shepherded the law through the General Assembly. Bike Walk Tennessee remains committed to creating legislation and promoting enforcement of laws that protects bicyclists and pedestrians who are using the public right of way.