Thursday, 29 July 2010

The injustice of scapegoating the few dangerous drivers unfortunate enough to cause death

According to an article in today's Guardian, Teenagers jailed for 90mph crash that killed rising rugby star, "Sean Goodfellow and Murray McAllan, both 19, were both jailed for four and a half years . . . [and banned] from driving for 12 years . . ".

That's not justice, but scapegoating . . !

Dangerous driving is ubiquitous, goes generally unreported and unpunished, and even when culprits are brought to book, they get away with the lightest of punishments (a small fine or short ban at the most), which manifestly fails to deter them or others from offending again - unless, of course, they cause an accident which results in serious injury or death, as in the case reported here, when the law comes down on them like a ton of bricks, in what can only be described as
vindictive injustice, to compensate the state's failure - because of public, i.e. media, pressure - to provide a proper deterrent against dangerous driving, especially speeding.

Sean Goodfellow and Murray McAllan are no worse, or deserving of such serious punishment, than the thousands (probably millions) of others who get away with dangerous driving. They were just UNLUCKY that in their case it resulted in someone's death.

All that's needed to virtually eliminate deaths due to dangerous driving, is a comprehensive monitoring system of our roads, such that dangerous driving (usually speeding) is readily spotted and offenders brought to account, first with a warning, followed by increasingly lengthy driving bans for subsequent offences: one week for a second offence, a month or the third, and so on, so that those who repeatedly offend are simply banished completely from our roads. No need for fines or prison sentences, unless, of course, the bans are violated.

But because lots of people, including many in high places in politics and the media, want the FREEDOM to violate speed limits whenever they see fit, with little risk of being caught or seriously punished when they are, reducing deaths through dangerous driving remains impossible. Instead the law comes down, quite unjustly, like a ton of bricks on the unfortunate few whose dangerous driving results in someone's death.

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