CHARLESTON — It has been nearly two years since the late Sarah Nott lost her life in an accident on W.Va. 2. On Monday, legislation passed the West Virginia House of Delegates with the hope of preventing another similar tragedy.
House Bill 2826, also known as Sarah Nott’s Law, unanimously passed with 97 delegates voting for the legislation which now goes to the state Senate for a vote and, if passed, on to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to be vetoed or signed into law.
HB 2826 was written and co-sponsored by Delegate Jim Butler (R-14th), who said it is meant to ensure vehicles do not block the view of motorists by parking illegally on the state right-of-way, particularly in high-traffic areas, by establishing clearly marked no parking zones in those areas.
“In this case, Sarah’s view was blocked by service trucks that were parked along the edge of a gas station parking lot,” Butler said. “When she pulled out, she was struck by an oncoming vehicle and killed.”
Back in October, Nott’s parents, Rusty and Brenda Nott, of Point Pleasant, attended a ceremony where a roadside sign was placed in memory of their daughter, near the site in Gallipolis Ferry where Sarah lost her life in that automobile accident in 2014 at the age of 21. That day last October, Rusty and Brenda recalled how Sarah had stopped at the store to buy something to eat and when leaving the establishment, her line of sight was obscured by vehicles that were parked in a way the Notts have vehemently maintained was illegal near the roadway. With traffic backing up behind her, Sarah attempted to ease on to the roadway when she was hit in her lane and later died from injuries sustained in the accident.
Since Sarah’s death, her parents have taken on the cause to educate people on the existing law about parking near right-of-ways and to spread the message that more needs to be done in terms of enforcement and marking the no parking zones. They took their concerns, findings and support from others to the Legislature and have finally gotten Sarah Nott’s Law to the floor for that vote in the House of Delegates, though the battle isn’t completely over, yet, with the vote in the senate looming.
Butler commended the Notts, saying: “Sarah’s parents attended city council and county commission meetings in our region where they got support for legislation. They also conducted research in support of a law to correct this dangerous situation and prevent future loss of life.”
There is an existing law on the books that states vehicles cannot park within so many feet of the state highway, though not everyone is aware of it. As Brenda pointed out in October, many people may think they are standing in a parking lot, when it fact they are not and are on state highway property, at least for so many feet. The no parking sign at the site of Sarah’s accident states there is to be no parking within eight feet of the pavement.
For those wishing to express their support for the legislation in the Senate, call state Sens. Mike Hall and Mitch Carmichael at 304-357-7901 and 304-357-7855, respectively; or email them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Point Pleasant Register will continue to follow this legislation.
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.