October 6, 2008
by W.P. Kravecas… Over the many years of reading newspapers I have always; with interest read the articles that are in any way, related to driving incidents. I then enjoy, for lack of a better word, all letters to the editor afterwards where people from all walks of life offer their two cents on why something happened or a particular situation exists and their proposed and rationalized solution(s).
I, on purpose, did not use the word ‘accident’ above, with respect to Impaired Driving and Street Racing any negative result from either is not an accident. By definition an accident is; 1) an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap. 2) any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.
Anyone who has a driver’s licence, which is a privilege not a right, can not be unaware or unknowing that driving after drinking is; 1) unlawful 2) stupid 3) irresponsible to the highest degree; knowing that deadly and serious damage to life and property can occur. The same applies to road racing but, in my opinion, has to be viewed differently because the individuals who participate, with major preponderance, will not be impaired.
Anyone who chooses to drink and drive or participate in street racing, is doing so knowingly and deliberately. If such action results in an incident, however tragic; it is not an accident. Therefore the consequence(s) and penalties of such deliberate acts should be applied and enforced accordingly. Not too long ago a breadwinner was erased from life and the immediate family instantly had to endure all burdens, created by this event, indefinitely. Another burden was added when it became known that the two young men who received punishment equivalent to being ‘grounded’ were unfairly treated favourably. What is true remorse? ‘oops’, ‘my bad’ and ‘sorry’ just does not, nor should it ever, make the cut. How can one forgive and try to achieve closure when excuses are offered instead of reasons given.
The following is an excerpt from a Web Page article posted by “The Association of British Drivers”
Unlimited Safety — our aim!Our motorways are our safest roads. However, a significant minority of motorists do not drive properly on motorways. Bad motorway drivers have poor lane discipline, do not use their mirrors, undertake, hog overtaking lanes, follow too closely and fail to adjust their speed to take account of poor weather conditions, road works and heavy traffic. Other countries have addressed these problems. In the former West Germany proper motorway driving behaviour is strictly enforced (safe following distances, correct lane discipline and adherence to speed limits applied only when and where they are needed). International evidence shows there is no correlation between maximum motorway speed limits and accident and casualty rates. Consequently, some stretches of the West German Autobahn network have an excellent traffic signalling system which supports a variable speed limit regime with no upper limit.
With this in mind; anyone, who on their own, loses control of their vehicle due to the speed chosen to drive at; essentially becomes subject to and a victim of the laws and the ‘Balance of Nature’ as it applies to motorists.
Drivers who, in rush hour or heavy traffic, wait until the last possible moment to make their way from the left lane to the right lane in order to catch their exit (and find it difficult because the spacing between the vehicles, regardless of speed, is very tight) are just as much to blame as those who follow too closely in the following example. But who or what is truly responsible for and deserving of blame?
In order to avoid a collision a driver brakes to let another determined driver in ahead, this creates a ripple in traffic that cascades it’s way backwards to where after 2 kilometres another driver does not brake quickly enough and, at low speed, collides with the vehicle in front. This creates a bottleneck and another ripple which this time evolves into a tsunami, causing a serious pileup 5 kilometres behind the bottleneck. Several people were injured and one person was killed.
Because one individual wanted to try and save a few minutes in his/her commute, he/she becomes unintentionally and unknowingly responsible for that pileup and the results of it.
Many of the major vehicle arteries through and around Toronto, which were not designed to handle the current and increasing volumes, are to blame foundationally. Complacency and people perpetually in a hurry according to their individual schedules and lifestyles; in relation to how the current driving environment manifests itself, are then also to blame.
Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Photo radar and playing with the speed limit will not change anything. It would be analogous to trying to treat cancer with aspirin.
There are no magic solutions, but I believe that increased, efficient and affordable public transit will be, and needs to be, a major component. Another important component should be zero tolerance, if one is convicted of either Impaired Driving causing Death or Street Racing causing Death then that person should spend some significant time in Jail and upon release their Licence is suspended for a minimum of 10 years. No more slaps on the wrist and/or being told to sit in the corner of the room for the rest the day.
The people in charge of the GTA and the planners know what the current situation is and, to a reasonable and perhaps frightening degree, the projections. Mathematically and physically the number of solutions are finite. Any and all quibbling has to stop and some real proactive measures need to be instituted like yesterday.
Please, no more consultants to study the conclusions of the previous study; done only a year beforehand.
check out Billy’s site at Dune’s Slant