Texas legal news in 2021 not only reflected the debates and court disputes being heard all across the country, but also frequently led those conversations. Each day through the end of the year, Androvett Legal Media & Marketing takes a look at the Top 10 Texas Legal Stories that shaped 2021.
Outrage Over Traffic Enforcement After Deaths of Cyclists on Texas Roadways
“Still in Texas. Worst drivers so far.”
Those were the tragic words 51-year-old Kent Wosepka posted on a social networking site one day before he and a group of cross-country cyclists passing through Liberty County were hit by a Texas driver. Although Wosepka was killed and two others injured, the 66-year-old driver accused of driving his SUV into the group was set free and is yet to be charged.
One month earlier, dozens of cyclists were on a training ride in Waller County when a teenaged pickup driver struck six of the riders. The teen, who witnesses say had been taunting the cyclists, was questioned and released. It was only after a six-week investigation by the Waller County District Attorney’s office that the teen was eventually charged.
The incidents are just two of several that happened on Texas roadways in 2021. And if it seems like there are more cyclist-related fatalities recently, that’s because there are. The Texas Department of Transportation says the state saw a dramatic rise in the number of people killed while biking on roadways in 2020, despite a decrease in traffic crashes. The increase is part of an alarming trend over the last five years.
So, what’s being done to protect cyclists on Texas roadways? A new Texas law, which went into effect September 1, is aimed at ensuring reckless drivers don’t go unpunished. Under the Lisa Torry Smith Act, drivers can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if they cause bodily harm to a pedestrian or cyclist. If the pedestrian or cyclist is seriously injured, drivers can face a state jail felony.
For more information, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.