Protesters may want to think twice before blocking roadways if a newly proposed bill becomes law.
The bill, introduced by Republican lawmakers, would protect drivers who inadvertently strike protesters on North Dakota roadways. It was introduced by Rep. Keith Kempenich in response to protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
During 2016, thousands of protesters occupied Highway 1806 and other nearby roadways, creating human barricades and forcing major road closures in Morton County.
According to the Star Tribune, the bill “would protect drivers from legal consequences if they hit and injure or kill pedestrians who are obstructing traffic.”
“A driver of a motor vehicle who negligently causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway may not be held liable for any damages,” the bill reads. “A driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway is not guilty of an offense.”
The bill has several cosponsers in the House and Senate, however a hearing date has not yet been set.
“(Roads) are not there for the protesters. They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.” added Rep. Keith Kempenich.