What are the penalties for a Negligent Driving 2nd - Vulnerable User traffic infraction and how should they be documented in JIS?
SSB 5326, passed during the 2011 Legislative Session, created a new traffic infraction called Negligent Driving 2nd - Vulnerable Users (RCW 46.61.526). This infraction is cited when a person operates a vehicle in a manner that was both negligent and was a proximate cause of substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death of a vulnerable user of the public roadway. A vulnerable user is defined as someone using the public roadway that is walking, riding an animal, or operating any of the following: a bicycle, an electric-assisted bicycle, an electric personal assistive mobility device, a moped, a motor-driven cycle, a motorized foot scooter, a motorcycle, a tractor, or an implementation of husbandry without an enclosed shell.
This infraction is different than all other traffic infractions as there are higher mandatory fines, a specific alternative sentence option, and can result in the suspension of the defendant's driving privileges. The specifics are documented in this answer as well as in the printable document attached to the bottom of this answer.
Payment of infraction as cited:
When an infraction is issued, the mandatory penalty cited will be $10,287 ($5000 base penalty plus assessments).
- The penalty amount which may not be reduced to an amount less than one thousand dollars ($1000.00).
- Upon conviction via payment, schedule of a time payment agreement or failure to respond, DOL will suspend the defendant's driving privileges for 90 days.
The Finding/Judgment codes of P - Paid or C - Committed can be used in JIS on the Plea/Sentence (PLS) screen.
NOTE: The disposition will not be sent to DOL automatically on eTickets for these violations. The court must complete an Abstract of Court Reocrd (ACR) through the DOL Court Forms Access. See below for example.
The defendant can choose to have a hearing on the case where they will be provided with two options:
- Sign a time payment agreement which will still result in the suspension of the defendant's driving privileges for 90 days. This option should be documented the same as a payment or time payment agreement prior to the hearing, as defined above.
- Do a 1 year alternative sentence with specific conditions that MUST be met. This option should be documented following the instructions below.
While this law does have an available alternative sentence, it is specifically excluded from the Deferred Finding alternative as allowed in RCW 46.63.070.
Alternative Sentence Option:
The conditions of the alternative sentence include:
- Pay a penalty of $250, instead of the $10,287 penalty listed on the infraction,
- Attend traffic school,
- Complete CS hours of no more than 100 hours; amount to be ordered by the court,
- Submit certification to the court that all conditions were met within 1 year of the hearing date,
- The court can also impose administrative costs if this alternative sentence is chosen,
- The court can extend the 1 year time period if good cause is shown.
The Finding/Judgment code of C - Committed should be used in JIS on the Plea/Sentence (PLS) screen when documenting the alternative sentence option.
A Case Condition Code was created to help courts track this alternative sentence. Enter the Case Condition Code NDA - Negligent Driving Alternative Sentence with a review date 1 year from the hearing date to monitor the completion of the conditions.
If this option is chosen the DOL will NOT suspend their driving privileges. To report the committed finding with "Alternative Sentence" you must submit the citation manually to DOL with a completed Abstract of Judgment form. The form must be marked to indicate the "Alternative Sentence" to prevent the license suspension.
NOTE: The "Alternative Sentence" option must be manually sent to DOL on both eTickets and paper tickets using an Abstract of Court Record (ACR) through the DOL Court Forms access. See below for example.
Violation of the Alternative Sentence:
Violation of the 1 year alternative sentence conditions requires that
- The original $10,287 penalty ($5,000 base penalty plus assessments) be imposed,
- AND DOL will suspend the defendant's driving privileges for 90 days.
NOTE: The Abstract of Court Record (ACR) Form must be resubmitted to DOL to indicate that the alternative sentence is revoked. See below for example.
Complete DOL Abstract of Court Record (ACR)
Below is what the DOL webform looks like for when RCW 46.61.526 is entered on the form. A requirements section will appear and Yes or No has to be checked to move on.
For the 90 day license suspension to take place, No has to be marked. This would be for either a a standard committed finding (payment plan, FTA, etc.) or if the Alternative Sentence was violated. DOL will only take suspension action if No is checked.
When a defendant successfully completes the Alternative Sentence option, enter RCW 46.61.526 with a Committed finding and mark the requirement section as Yes. This will add the violation to the driver's record but will not add the 90 day suspension.
RN id: 2267