During the 2018 legislative session, the Kansas Senate considered, and ultimately passed, a bill that would allow drunk driving defendants who injure or kill someone to introduce evidence that the victim was not wearing their seat belt at the time of the accident. SB 296 was voted on in the Kansas Senate on February 21, 2018 and can be found on page 1618 of the Kansas Senate Journal.
In his explanation of vote, Senator Hensley stated: “This bill forces juries to speculate what the victim’s injuries might have been instead of determining the injuries the victim actually suffered. This bill will also increase the cost of litigation by forcing victims to hire expert witnesses in cases where seat belts are at issue. As Mothers Against Drunk Driving said about this bill, “we cannot start blaming victims for these senseless tragedies. This bill does not serve the Kansas Citizen and must be voted against.” We should not be needlessly punishing victims by letting drunk drivers improperly influence juries with irrelevant and prejudicial evidence aimed at reducing their liability. For those reasons, I vote “NO” on Senate Bill 296.”
It’s time that Kansas voters stand up to legislators who refuse to vote their district and support legislation that punishes victims and rewards bad actors.
Paid for by Senate Democratic Committee, Will Lawrence, Treasurer