Short story: Young woman stops her car in the passing lane of a major highway to help some ducks trying to cross the road. Motorcyclist crashes into the back of her car killing both the rider and passenger. Woman gets 90 days jail time and a 10 year driving ban. [Link]
IDIOT CAGER + DEAD MOTORCYCLISTS (should) = LETHAL INJECTION TIME!
That was certainly my first thought, that she got away with murder, and I think many motorcyclists would react the same way. But then I dug into it a bit more and found, as with most things, there was more to the story.
Longer story: Young woman stops her car in the passing lane of a major highway to help some ducks trying to cross the road. A camper trailer also in the passing lane swerves at the last minute to avoid the car. A motorcyclist following the camper trailer, driving (it is estimated) between 25 and 40 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit of 90 kph, doesn’t react in time and crashes into the back of the car killing both the rider and passenger.
So is it still lethal injection time? Some will call me out for blaming the victim, but I can’t help but think about how this was such an avoidable accident.
First, there are many reasons a vehicle might be stopped in any lane of a highway – accident, breakdown, and, yes, stupidity. But the responsibility is with all drivers to be aware of that possibility and drive in such a manner that control can be maintained at all times, even when faced with the unexpected – especially when faced with the unexpected.
Second, it would appear from published reports that the rider was following the camper so closely that he had no, or limited, visibility of the road ahead. When the camper swerved suddenly to avoid the stopped vehicle (which could equally have been a large pothole or debris on the road) he was caught by surprise and had neither the time, nor possibly the training, to react appropriately.
Finally, I have seen no reports of how much other traffic there was on the highway at the time, but excessive speed, and travelling at a speed significantly higher than the traffic around you, always comes at a huge risk – a risk that rests solely with the driver.
Let there be no doubt this woman did something blazingly stupid and negligent. Two people are dead and lives will never be the same, including hers, and she needs to accept responsibility and be punished for that.
But I’m conflicted. I think some jail time is appropriate but, frankly, a long jail term as has been called for by some won’t fix stupid. However, a 10 year driving ban will at least keep her off the road, making it a wee bit safer for all of us no matter how many wheels we are on. So put away the syringe, I think the judge may have got this one right.