The Senate Public Safety Committee has given approval to Senate Bill 560, which would provide criminal and civil protections for drivers who feel threatened by riots or crowds of people circling a vehicle.
Authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, the measure would protect a person who makes a reasonable effort to escape from a crowd unlawfully blocking the road and surrounding the vehicle from criminal or civil prosecution. The bill is in response to the 2020 riots, where protesters were witnessed numerous times surrounding vehicles, rendering them unable to move without possible injury.
“Most of us are aware of the riots that happened throughout the summer last year on highways, blocking traffic and even rolling through neighborhoods and along people’s private property,” Dahm said. “Drivers in these situations should not be held liable or responsible for injury by trying to escape a threatening and dangerous situation. I strongly support the right to peacefully protest, but when these protests turn violent, citizens should have every right to protect themselves and their property.”
The measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.