Why the difference?



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Thread: Why the difference?

  1. #1
    robmack's Avatar
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    Why the difference?

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    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44815820

    US police have charged a man after a boulder allegedly bounced out of the bed of his truck and crashed into another car, killing two people. ... A criminal complaint states that Mr Czeck is charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide, local media report. Two counts are for causing a collision and then fleeing the scene, and two for gross negligence. Mr Czeck faces a maximum of 40 years in jail and an $80,000 (60,000) fine.
    So, an unfortunate road accident claims two lives because the decisions made by a lorry driver on how he should secure his load. The responsible driver is eligible to be punished appropriately to the severity of his actions.

    Second scenario. A motorist makes an improper left turn at an intersection, cutting off a motorcyclist approaching from the opposite direction and the motorcyclist gets killed. The driver gets charged with making an improper left turn, a small fine is levied and no jail time is sought. In the end, innocent people lost their lives. Why the difference in punishment? Shouldn't the driver in my second scenario pay a similar price for their improper decisions leading up to the accident in proportion to the consequences of those decisions, like the lorry driver?
    Last edited by robmack; 07-13-2018 at 05:53 PM.
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  2. #2
    Baggsy's Avatar
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    Re: Why the difference?

    Did the boulder accidentally fall into the back of the truck and he decided to drive anyway, or did he deliberately put it there unsecured and went for a drive?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Why the difference?

    Was Laurie aware she had an insecure load ?
    seems rather irresponsible

    but yes, the consequences should fit the charge
    it's a complicated question, problem

    public roads are used by vehicles of all sizes/speeds/visibility
    we here, on this site, are sensitive to motorcycle issues of course

    luckily we have a new provincial leader
    that due to his inheritance of Daddy's label company
    is well equipped to tackle and solve complicated social and safety issues

  4. #4

    Re: Why the difference?

    I'd throw a guess that in Ontario, one situation is jointly governed by the MOL & the HTA with strict consequences for negligence. A commercial operator must ensure load security. Failing to do that before driving away demonstrates negligence.
    The other situation has nothing to do with commercial load security and is only HTA, therefore the HTA would need to be amended to have specific clauses surrounding improper left turn causing death.
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  5. #5

    Re: Why the difference?

    When a prominent politician or a prominent politician's kid is killed on his motorcycle by a left-turner maybe we'll see legislation introduced, cutely called "Timmy's Bill", that would toughen the punishments meted out to the careless and negligent drivers out there.

    Until then, us little people are on our own.

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    Re: Why the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackfin View Post
    careless and negligent
    Those two words are exactly what the difference is between the two scenarios you posted, Blackfin. Your two examples are not that similiar. As others pointed there are rules set out that clearly define the level of liability, and accountability to drivers in scenario one. To prove negligence and careless becomes easier and the punishments are appropriately set. Additionally, when negligence and careless are proved it is rather difficult to call it an accident as you say.. Right?

    Now picture your dearest family member that you know is an otherwise decent/good driver in your scenario #2. Forgive the use of the word, but bare with me - accidents can happen. It is far harder to prove any sort of negligence or carelessness (to a level as set out in law) in this scenario. Here again the punishments are set appropriately. Or, would you rather see your loved one burn at the stake like you want?

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    Re: Why the difference?

    Seems to me, that making a left turn despite visible conflicting oncoming traffic is the definition of negligence or carelessness.

  8. #8

    Re: Why the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bagman View Post
    Those two words are exactly what the difference is between the two scenarios you posted, Blackfin. Your two examples are not that similiar. As others pointed there are rules set out that clearly define the level of liability, and accountability to drivers in scenario one. To prove negligence and careless becomes easier and the punishments are appropriately set. Additionally, when negligence and careless are proved it is rather difficult to call it an accident as you say.. Right?
    I feel that the word "accident" is way overused in the media and elsewhere and I don't generally believe that "accidents can happen" beyond the likes of a truly random gamma ray affecting the quantum clockwork of the planet. Every time a car blunders into the path of a motorcyclist, or rams into the back of another car, or drifts (or is purposely steered so) out of its lane into the spot occupied by another vehicle ad nauseum something was missed by the operator. That is not a random happenstance; that is a lapse of attention, a moment of carelessness, negligence in the form of a failure to maintain one's vehicle (in the event of a failure, say, of a steering component) or to properly secure a load etc.

    When an airliner crashes the incident is investigated down to the last rivet. Without fail, these incidents turn out to not be "accidents" at all but rather the result of a sequence of events that led to, say, controlled flight into the ground, the failure of a control surface, the loss of an engine etc. Very few such incidents are ever left to the generalized column of "accident." Stuff doesn't just happen; causes and faults are virtually always found, whether errors on the part of a pilot due to poor training, poor CRM, fatigue or even murder/suicide or something else like faulty maintenance or a design fault etc.

    We don't generally investigate automobile crashes to the same degree but there's no reason to suspect anything different from the world of aviation. Accidents don't just happen. Cars strike other vehicles, objects or people because of very deterministic reasons, the vast majority of which can be ascribed to the driver being inattentive, negligent or careless.

    We don't accept that pilots or surgeons "make mistakes" or when we do, we exact a harsh toll; why would we accept it for people piloting two tons of steel around at 120kph?

    Now picture your dearest family member that you know is an otherwise decent/good driver in your scenario #2. Forgive the use of the word, but bare with me - accidents can happen. It is far harder to prove any sort of negligence or carelessness (to a level as set out in law) in this scenario. Here again the punishments are set appropriately. Or, would you rather see your loved one burn at the stake like you want?
    I honestly don't know how I would react in the scenario you put forward: My "dearest" family member being the cause of someone else's death or maiming while a the wheel of a car that had not suffered, say, a mechanical failure and where all circumstances suggest the equivalent of a "controlled flight into the ground" -- or in this case, a motorcycle or bicyclist or pedestrian or ... geez.

    If my dearest had been involved in an incident behind the wheel where someone died and the only plausible explanation was that they failed to diligently and properly navigate the vehicle in such a way as to avoid contact with everything and everyone else on the road, what can I say? Everything is as it was? Nothing has changed? I can't say that. If they kill someone through an act of negligence or carelessness I'd have a hard time associating with them from that point forward.
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    Re: Why the difference?

    I agree on the use of the word, 'accident." That is why I pardoned my use and made note of yours in the original post. More an incident - I agree. Pure, true, accidents rarely, rarely happen. Word use is not this debate, however.

    I hear ya, and I can appreciate the examples in the aviation industry. In the totality of the context of this complex issue I must assert aviation is drastically different than a motorist on a road for a whole host of reasons too many to get into over a forum discussion. However, a thorough chunk of which could easily be thought of with basic mind.

    Again, it really boils down to (and I can't think of the correct word) 'level' of negligence and carelessness that is looked at in court. One would need to pour over years of past judgements to see the case law.

    Off the top of my head consider the scenario of a simple rear-ender. Were it car into car the damage relatively minor. The speed is pretty slow, but were it a car into motorcyclist the personal injury might be substantial. Firstly, please don't forget the burden of risk as a motorcyclist is ours bare. There is no difference in law or punishment (nor should there be) for hitting a motorcyclist.

    Moving forward.... the reality is the car driver looked out his window at the wrong moment (and this could be a family member) to see something pass by, or, whatever caught their eye and in that brief moment traffic stopped and the incident has happened. I would completely agree that a dissection played out in hindsight would yield a number of points in time where different choices would very likely have provided a more favourable outcome. The courts themselves realize this. However, through case law the courts have clearly stated this (that brief moment of lapse of judgement or bad choice) is not careless driving or negligence.

    As you agree, airlines crashes are investigated extensively, and arguably every time can be traced back to that "very last rivet." So the fault is found, how obscure or far removed from the flight itself. This does not determine carelessness or negligence, but we agree the courts navigate those two words different in that field.

    This discussion has ties to all sorts of others. The ever evolving technology in cars, for example. Forward Brake Assist, anyone. I venture to argue that should such a scenario begin to yield far harsher penalties is the day insurance premiums begin to rise drastically, and fewer people drive. The autonomous car a ever more present reality. Perhaps one day the government will finally consider better driving training? But why bother if technology is making up the gap.

  10. #10
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    Re: Why the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian P View Post
    Seems to me, that making a left turn despite visible conflicting oncoming traffic is the definition of negligence or carelessness.
    Completely agree.

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    Re: Why the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bagman View Post
    There is no difference in law or punishment (nor should there be) for hitting a motorcyclist.
    Hitting a car/truck vs hitting a pedestrian/bicyclist/motorcyclist can make the difference between "careless driving" and "careless driving causing death" the way it is now.

  12. #12
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    Re: Why the difference?

    Good discussion; great points.

    When the aviation scenarios of were brought up, it occurred to me that maybe the difference in penalties, thoroughness of investigation, etc. is related to the perception that accidents caused by "professionals" differs from accidents caused by "public". Pilots, truck drivers, doctors, etc. are trained professionals who earn their living from these activities that puts others at risk, that these professionals are trained and certified. The community expects that these individuals have higher levels of skills and awareness while conducting these activities (i.e. piloting an airplane, operating on a patient, driving a lorry) and that any oversight is "negligence" as opposed to "carelessness". The public, on the other hand, don't earn a living through the activity that puts people at risk, they lack professional skills and training needed to conduct the activity and so should be cut some slack when things go wrong. The community sees the decisions leading up to the accident as "unfortunate circumstances".

    For the specific activity of driving on public roads, drivers need to be better trained certified to higher standards, and held to greater account for accidents in proportion to the damage caused by them.
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    Re: Why the difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmack View Post
    Good discussion; great points.

    When the aviation scenarios of were brought up, it occurred to me that maybe the difference in penalties, thoroughness of investigation, etc. is related to the perception that accidents caused by "professionals" differs from accidents caused by "public". Pilots, truck drivers, doctors, etc. are trained professionals who earn their living from these activities that puts others at risk, that these professionals are trained and certified. The community expects that these individuals have higher levels of skills and awareness while conducting these activities (i.e. piloting an airplane, operating on a patient, driving a lorry) and that any oversight is "negligence" as opposed to "carelessness". The public, on the other hand, don't earn a living through the activity that puts people at risk, they lack professional skills and training needed to conduct the activity and so should be cut some slack when things go wrong. The community sees the decisions leading up to the accident as "unfortunate circumstances".

    For the specific activity of driving on public roads, drivers need to be better trained certified to higher standards, and held to greater account for accidents in proportion to the damage caused by them.
    When I was flying many years ago and getting the COPA magazine it had all plane crash investigations, even private pilot stuff.

    I think it boils down to the massive numbers of car crashes and the cost of detailed reports on every one.

    The bar is set pretty low for cager licenses and a certain amount of collateral damage is tolerated.

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