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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Jail for an error?

Should drivers be jailed for doing what the Government, Society and the community allow them to do for the economy and their expediency?

Perhaps we need to look at this question again but from the perspective of the majority, instead of the shrill anti driver minority, usually from a green agenda, on whose behalf imprisonment is now regularly being meted out to beleaguered drivers.

Perhaps we should have spotted the way things were headed when the word 'accident' was removed from official vocabulary. Is this coincidence? After all, it is a bit harsh to bang someone up who simply made a mistake and had an accident isn't it? Then of course there is the mantra, a la Brunstrom, that road accidents must be treated as a murder scene with all its attendant forensic examination to boot!

But let's look at it this way. What does the Government expect when it allows humans to mingle with large pieces of moving machinery in a way that would offend any elf'n safety rules and be banned if it were a private concern? So it is expedient that, with meagre qualification, any Tom Dick & Harry is let loose with large pieces of metal kit with flesh and blood intermingled.

Now having done that, it allows inexpert but profitable agencies to have a major say on what should and should not happen and thus are accident scenarios set up for us too. For example the DfT and its Partnerships, in ignoring the self evident such as, 'Remove the need to overtake, reduces the attempts to overtake and thus reduces the head on crashes', or 'The more drivers can see the safer they are' actually sets up the accidents and the resulting casualties does it not? A classic example can be found on this site ( Our fault if we crash so that's ok then! ) where I argue the self evident that by restricting dual carriageways to 50 MPH means that one can only legally pass an HGV on a two way road with opposing traffic, where the DfT is setting up crashes, the response? 'It's all your fault if you crash'. And on that basis judges are imprisoning people?

Let's start off on the premise that, excluding drunk driving, no-one sets out to crash and kill anyone so we are imprisoning people for an accident where most of the ingredients for it were supplied and endorsed by the authorities in the first place. But how on earth can we send people to prison for an action where on one occasion there is only bent metal and no police interest at all and another, from exactly the same action, but for the tragic coincidence that human flesh got in the way as it is bound to do from time to time?

Any judges out there like to explain this one to us?



  2. Sorry but drivers are responsible for their actions. If you drive appropriately for the conditions, yours & your vehicles capabilities and are watching out for hazards then you are very unlikely to have an 'accident'. The present toll of 7 people being killed & around 40 seriously injured EACH DAY is too many.

  3. Yes Phil that is the conventional thinking but do explain how that, in one example, the police don't bother to attend yet for exactly the same mistake or action or decision jail because a human got between the metal?

    The authorities allow all that because it is expedient to them. Fact is that no-one intends to crash they make a mistake.

    So for example: A driver could not overtake an HGV legally where safe on a dual carriageway because the authorities took away his chance to do so with a 50 MPH limit and as a result, gets it wrong on a two way stretch with opposing traffic and gets jailed? In what other circumstance do the authorities set up the scenarios for the error and then jail people for it?

    But there is more death from accidents in the home Phil. Why no home ownership licences with points and imprisonment? How many people or employers go to prison for accidental death due to their action or inaction when not driving?

    Surely we must consider these aspects shouldn't we?

  4. Jon. Your QC makes several fundamental mistakes. For a start he talks of how low is the number killed by cyclists compared to cars. Except that only a tiny minority cycle, most don't or can't and never will so death by them will be low. But that is not the point. Our whole economy and society is now based on this car culture and road transport. It is not based on cycling. He must count how many would die if we now stopped doing it (driving) for pure economic and survival reasons. He writes as if we do it for fun. That we have options not to. We don't. Most people would rather not have to run cars.

    This QC really doesn't live in the real world does he? If people stopped cycling no-one would notice at all. Unprotected human flesh mingling with heavy fast moving machinery is not a very good idea. So the two cyclists he cites took the decision to place themselves in danger, an activity which would be banned for Health & Safety under any other circumstance. It isn't because it is politically expedient and the law allows it.

    Mix human with machinery and people will die. It's not rocket science is it?

    Fact is that our drivers are doing 300 billion driver miles a year and there is less death on the road from all causes than from death in the home. Does this QC appreciate that?