House Passes Markey’s High Speed Chase Legislation
Bill Establishes Increased Jail Time and Fines
(BOSTON) – On Wednesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed State Representative Christopher M. Markey’s bill regarding high speed chases. H1500, “An Act relative to high speed chases”, was filed by Markey, who represents all of Dartmouth and portions of New Bedford, in an effort to increase public safety on the Commonwealth’s streets, roads and highways. It also would serve to more significantly punish those who willfully endanger law enforcement and other citizens on the road.
The bill, which moves on to the Senate for further consideration, would create a new penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a $1,000 fine for any driver who “willfully ignores” a police officer’s signal to stop and then speeds 20 miles per hour over the limit. “When a state trooper or police officer signals for you to pull over, it certainly isn’t always possible to stop at that moment,” said Markey. “However, when you speed up and turn a routine stop into a chase, you have, by your actions, signaled your intent to flee. This escalation endangers the lives of everyone involved, and any innocent motorists or pedestrians in the area as well.” In order for charges to be brought, the chase has to last one mile as outlined by the bill.
Markey filed the bill after having conversations with many law enforcement officials on the state and local level who outlined that high speed chases were becoming increasingly more common. “I hope that the bill is a deterrent to anyone who has any ideas to be reckless but, at the very least, it will allow law enforcement and district attorneys to levy more sufficient charges that underscore the seriousness of the offense,” he added.