Sunday, April 11, 2010

An (almost) equitable sentence

(via take the lane)

Casey Meads partied most of the night; well into the small hours of the morning, he drove his truck home. On the way, he fatally hit William Timothy Korol, throwing him off his bicycle 25 meters into a ditch. Since the police found no evidence Mr. Korol had lights at the time of the crash, the prosecution would have found it difficult to prove the defendant's conduct led to Mr. Korol's death. However, since Meads drove home instead of stopping, attempting to help Mr. Korol, or reporting the crash, the authorities had no difficulty making a case for hit and run against him. He claimed he thought he had hit a deer, and could not tell he had hit a cyclist because his airbag had deployed. Even if you believe this claim, driving after a crash serious enough to deploy airbags endangers all other road users, because your vehicle may have suffered enough damage to compromise its safe operation.

While a two year sentence fits the facts the crown can prove well enough, the three year driving prohibition seems a little light. As the provincial governments frequently remind us, a driver's license confers a privilege, not a right. I do not believe that anyone who fails to take responsibility for their actions should have the privilege of operating a two tonne bomb in public. Actions such as those Meads confessed to do not usually result in a lifetime driving prohibition. But maybe if they did, fewer people would drive home after partying, or tell themselves they just hit a deer without looking around their airbags.

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