Killer drivers could avoid jail - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
Rant Room Clean ranting only - No Swearing!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
(Post Link) post #1 of 32 Old 09-01-08 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cambridge, UK
Posts: 1,124
Killer drivers could avoid jail

Killer drivers could avoid jail

Apparently, if you kill someone whilst having a "momentary loss of attention" you get a bit of community service.

If you kill someone whilst having a "momentary loss of attention" and don't have any insurance, you still get a bit of community service.

Allegedly, this means if I don't see a cyclist whilst I'm momentarily distracted by, say, the kids fighting in the back, and I run the cyclist over and kill them, I have to help old ladies with their shopping for a few weeks....

It's the consquences wrapped up in the 3,500 deaths a year that mean that this "momentary loss of attention" has no place in the judicial system.

As to helping old ladies with their shopping... we should be doing this anyway!

Padders is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

This is a bad move. the courts already had the community service option open to them for this offence and I don't see why judges' sentencing options should be restricted in this way. If an act of carelessness committed outside a car leads to a death, the perpetrator can expect a manslaughter charge. What changes when you turn your ignition key?

And driving while uninsured should result in immediate confiscation and crushing of the vehicle, or a TWOC charge if it's someone else's used without permission.
 
mikebrown
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

this is a difficult one....sure throw, for instance, the "joy rider" who intentionally steals a vehicle and is looking to drive fast into the deepest darkest cell for a few years....but the individual who has caused an accident by sheer bad luck or lapse of concentration (and lets face it this could happen to any of us)...should they go to jail...probably not...its a very emotive subject and one personally close to my heart...a family member was killed a few years ago whilst walking innocently on the pathway by a woman driver who lost control of her vehicle at low speed due to ice on the road...at the time we were devastated but i know that the lady has never driven again and her life will never be the same again...

mike
 
Status: She's happy to pootle
AO Platinum Member
 
Scudetto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: United Kingdom
County: Surrey
Posts: 16,845
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Mike - I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

I think as Mike said this a complicated subject (no two crashes are the same; the mindset in advance differs, too) and it is an emotive subject. At the same time, to provide some consistency in sentencing, crashes are forced into restrictive boxes in order to make some legal sense of them. It's a bit like trying to push a donkey into a shoe box forcefully using cooked noodles; you just know it'll get messy.

I don't know what to make of the rule change to be honest. I don't know if it will make drivers more conscious of their responsibility; and surely that's a key part of safe driving?

g

A driver is always faithful to a car that's always faithful to its driver.

Sometimes in the darkest hour, love comes shining through.
Then it doesn't seem so far from me to you.
Scudetto is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebrown View Post
...the individual who has caused an accident by sheer bad luck or lapse of concentration (and lets face it this could happen to any of us)...should they go to jail...probably not...
mike
Well, it's nothing to do with luck, or indeed ice on the road. We're dealing with a form of criminal negligence here, effectively. The point here is that judges should be allowed the option of gaol, or not, depending on the circumstances. Is someone who kills someone while turning round to scream at the kids in the back and fiddling with the satnav and the half dozen other distractions cars have these days, all the while doing 60 mph on a country lane driving carelessly or dangerously?

All this change is going to do is make it harder to get convictions, as the CPS will have to guess which one to go for. If they go for "dangerous", the court might consider it only "careless", in which case the offender will presumably get away with it completely. Much better to keep it simple and let the courts out individual sentences within a broad range of options.

The other issue is that the change implies that we have different standards of duty regarding care for the safety of others when we are driving and when we are not. I think that's wrong.
 
Status: Life is good atm. I do not take that for granted.
Global Mod Team
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 22,974
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Nothing has really changed.

If I am distracted for a moment and nudge a kerb I might scrape a tyre nobody but me notices.

If I am distracted for a moment and nudge a kerb I might kill a child who ran to the edge of the pavement and bounced off my car.

What is the actual difference?

The difference is the consequence - not the action.

The law has always looked at the action but has been changed to take into account the consequence WHERE APPROPRIATE. Momentary distraction has been written back in to take into account unfortunate circumstances like, for example, that described by mikebrown.

It is all too easy to see everything in black and white terms - a death happens so someone must be locked up - but life is just not like that.

Paul.

Seen an offensive/spam post? Report it! Click the or button next to the post.
AO Rules - AO Gallery - AO Classified adverts - AO Club - AO Traders
PaulR is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

You've avoided the point. Judges were free to take your view before, and were not required to lock people up after a fatal crash, as previous sentencing guidelines included community orders. But, they also had a choice to impose a harsher penalty in appropriate circumstances.
 
Status: Life is good atm. I do not take that for granted.
Global Mod Team
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 22,974
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
You've avoided the point. Judges were free to take your view before, and were not required to lock people up after a fatal crash, as previous sentencing guidelines included community orders. But, they also had a choice to impose a harsher penalty in appropriate circumstances.
No point avoided - the emphasis has changed is all.

Before - could lock up but basic sentence lesser
Now - can impose a lesser sentence but basic sentence more.

The same circumstance will have the same result - maniacs get locked up, momentary disractees get fined etc.

The headlines in the likes of the Daily Mail really annoy me being as they are emotively distorted.

Paul.
PaulR is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

No, they can now only impose the lesser sentence. Can't avoid the fact that judges' sentencing options have been narrowed, with the more severe penalty removed.

"Careless driving" is a wide definition. Sometimes, these people should go to jail.
 
Status: Life is good atm. I do not take that for granted.
Global Mod Team
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 22,974
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
No, they can now only impose the lesser sentence. Can't avoid the fact that judges' sentencing options have been narrowed, with the more severe penalty removed.

"Careless driving" is a wide definition. Sometimes, these people should go to jail.

I'll not argue further.
PaulR is offline  
AlfaLincs
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Someone please find me a driver who has not had a momentary loss of concentration.

Someone please find me a driver, who having had a momentary loss of concentration, has not said to themselves "bloody hell, I was lucky there was nothing coming or that could have been nasty"

Of course, sometimes the luck we all have runs out. That does not make us bad drivers or criminals, even though there may be tragic consequences for someone.

Central to all this is intent, and the law is attempting not to criminalise the ordinary motorist who sets off to drive carefully and responsibly, but in spite of all his good intent, makes a small error with big consequences.

Compare this to Gary Hart..who stays up all night with no sleep, then drives a Landrover with a car on a trailer at high speed with no regard for his own condition or the risk he is placing other road users in..falls asleep and ends up on a railway line and there follows a collision in which eleven people die. Then persistantly denies he was doing anything wrong!!!

Are we saying these two motorist deserve to be punished equally?

I don't think so. The first is not a criminal, the second is, and their treatment before the law should reflect this. There is no public gain and no deterrent in punishing the first driver.

AlfaLincs
 
Status: Life is good atm. I do not take that for granted.
Global Mod Team
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 22,974
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfaLincs View Post
There is no public gain and no deterrent in punishing the first driver.

AlfaLincs
Quite.
PaulR is offline  
(Post Link) post #13 of 32 Old 29-02-08 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cambridge, UK
Posts: 1,124
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

BBC NEWS | England | Hampshire | Text driver jailed for bike death

But not this one.

At first it seemed harsh considering the cyclist went through a red light, but on reflection, texting whilst doing 45 in 30, the sentence fits.
Padders is offline  
Status: Daddy bear
Global Mod Team
 
bazza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Congleton - The centre of
Posts: 44,626

Member car:

AMG C63 estate

Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Without reading the story itself, it seems right.
Surely the punishment should be fitted to the crime, not to the consequences of that crime (if those consequences are outside the control of the 'criminal')?
bazza is online now  
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bristol
Posts: 5,002
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padders View Post
BBC NEWS | England | Hampshire | Text driver jailed for bike death

But not this one.

At first it seemed harsh considering the cyclist went through a red light, but on reflection, texting whilst doing 45 in 30, the sentence fits.
Interesting that the judge's comments were predominantly about texting, not about speeding. Also interesting that he didn't make any negative comment about the cyclist going through the red light.
mave is offline  
Status: Life is good atm. I do not take that for granted.
Global Mod Team
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 22,974
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by mave View Post
Interesting that the judge's comments were predominantly about texting, not about speeding. Also interesting that he didn't make any negative comment about the cyclist going through the red light.
Quite - that point seems to have been entirely ignored.

However we all know that cyclists are allowed to go through red lights because there is no danger to them and, even if there was, it would be the responsibility of others to make sure that no harm came to them.
PaulR is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

According to the CPS, with regad to careless vs. dangerous driving:

Quote:
Where a death has occurred it is especially important that offenders are brought to justice. But, as the law stands, death does not, by itself, turn an accident into careless driving or turn
careless driving into dangerous driving. When considering the appropriate charge, it is the behaviour that is the deciding factor, ie whether the driving was careless or dangerous rather than the consequences.
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/d...rive-fatal.pdf

Nevertheless there has always been a separate offence of causing death by dangerous driving, and that is what this woman went down for. The outcome as well as the behaviour that led to it has long been recognised as relevant to a prosecution or punishment. Who could doubt that texting while driving is dangerous driving? And she killed someone by doing it, so there you go. Save your sympathy for someone who deserves it.

According to the BBC report, the judge said this:

"It occurred at precisely the worst time because you failed to see the cyclist who was crossing the road, having gone through the red light. Travelling as you were at 45mph you hit him and he suffered injuries from which he later died."

Doesdn't that acknowledge the apparently capital offence of crossing a red light on a pushbike?

Last edited by emgee; 02-03-08 at 10:01.
 
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bristol
Posts: 5,002
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post

According to the BBC report, the judge said this:

"It occurred at precisely the worst time because you failed to see the cyclist who was crossing the road, having gone through the red light. Travelling as you were at 45mph you hit him and he suffered injuries from which he later died."

Doesdn't that acknowledge the apparently capital offence of crossing a red light on a pushbike?
No it doesn't. I feel sorry for the cyclist, and feel that the motorist got what she deserved. but, fundamentally, the guy died because he went through a red light, not because the woman was on the phone.

Surely the responsibility to obey the traffic laws takes precedence over the responsibility to avoid those not obeying the traffic laws?
mave is offline  
HSTDriver
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by mave View Post
Surely the responsibility to obey the traffic laws takes precedence over the responsibility to avoid those not obeying the traffic laws?
They were both in violation of clear traffic laws. They're both guilty.

4 years in jail adequate punishment for killing someone? When you add on the rest of their life wracked with guilt, I think that's acceptable.

And the cyclists punishment? Nobody wants to see someone get killed on the roads, but that's why we have traffic lights. Obey them and the system works, we all stay safe. Disregard them, and put your life on the line.
 
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Perhaps we should dig up that cyclist and fine him?

Just because someone ran a red light does not absolve the rest of us from our obligation not to drive dangerously.

The judge said it clearly enough - she killed the cyclist because she did not see him, and she did not see him because she was driving dangerously.
 
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bristol
Posts: 5,002
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
Perhaps we should dig up that cyclist and fine him?
Are you suggesting that the cyclist's death means he can't be guilty of a crime?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
Just because someone ran a red light does not absolve the rest of us from our obligation not to drive dangerously.
Agreed, but does the opposite hold true? If everyone else is driving safely with full concentration, does that mean you are allowed to jump red lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
The judge said it clearly enough - she killed the cyclist because she did not see him, and she did not see him because she was driving dangerously.
This is the bit I disagree with; in my view, the cyclist got himself killed by going through a red light.

If the woman was doing 30mph she might still have killed him. If she wasn't on the phone she might still have killed him. But he didn't go through the red light, he'd still be alive.

I don't disagree with the verdict that the woman is guilty of Death by Dangerous Driving, but the judge's comments seem to let the cyclist off his responsibilities.

As an aside, as part of this debate is about concentrating on the road, surely the cyclist can't have been concentrating to allow himself to get in that situation?
mave is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Well, the judge considered the case, including the actions of the cyclist, and this was his judgement. He made his decision on the full facts of the case before him, and he decided her dangerous driing led to the death of this person. You have no reason to believe she would have killed him if she was driving safely. Indeed, to say the cyclist "got himself killed" is a gross distortion of the situation, because it conveniently Tippexes out the part played in the death by this dangerous driver.

It's pretty obvious she would have had at least a far greater chance of avoiding him (or at least minimising the seriousness of the accident) had she been obeying the speed limit and/or looking where she was going. By driving in this way, she was reckless regarding the safety of others. This is at the heart of the offence of dangerous driving.

Whether you agree or disagree with the judge is up to you, but we all know what to expect if we drive in a manner that disregards the safety of others. If and when we stand in that dock, it will be of little use to moan about the standard of other road users.
 
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bristol
Posts: 5,002
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
Well, the judge considered the case, including the actions of the cyclist, and this was his judgement.
Agreed, none of us know the full details of the case unless we were there, but does that mean we should just nod and accept that the judge was correct without debate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
Indeed, to say the cyclist "got himself killed" is a gross distortion of the situation, because it conveniently Tippexes out the part played in the death by this dangerous driver.
.
.. and doesn't saying "the driver killed the cyclist" conveniently tippex out the part played by the cyclist?


Quote:
Originally Posted by emgee View Post
It's pretty obvious she would have had at least a far greater chance of avoiding him (or at least minimising the seriousness of the accident) had she been obeying the speed limit and/or looking where she was going. By driving in this way, she was reckless regarding the safety of others. This is at the heart of the offence of dangerous driving.
If the cyclist had been driving a car instead, and the woman had died, would he then also have been found guilty of death by dangerous driving? And how about if he had died instead of her?

To me, the whole concept of Death by Dangerous Driving as something to do with protecting other people seems to forget that you have a duty to protect yourself as well?
mave is offline  
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
jamieboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Edinburgh
Posts: 2,485
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

It's a bit simplistic to say either "she killed him" or "he got himself killed".

A fatal accident occured because two people both failed to meet their responsibilities as road users. Hopefully her punishment will be a warning to other drivers, and his punishment a warning to other cyclists.
jamieboy is offline  
emgee
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Killer drivers could avoid jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieboy View Post
It's a bit simplistic to say either "she killed him" or "he got himself killed".
Indeed it is, and the judgement regflects her part in this. In particular, the sentence here was towards the lower end of the range of sentences available for this offence. This will have included consideration of the seriousness of the driving behaviour, and of the other circumstances involved.

http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov...ice/index.html
 
Reply

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Misc Lounges > Community Discussions > Rant Room

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome