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Licence To Kill

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Licence To Kill

Postby RompinDonkey » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:54 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... e_to_Kill/

A BBC documentary that I have just watched. It is about drivers that basically don't understand the power that they have behind a steering wheel. They do not care either (That's the bit that pissed me off). Obviously people get killed. We are talking mainly young drivers in cars here.

I have driven God knows how many miles - it will be a lot! I have been driving a car since I was 17 - so that's nearly 42 years? My wife says that I drive too fast (I think that she drives too fast). I drive within speed limits. I do like to drive fast - but within reason (and limits). No accidents so far. (so if I go AWOL now - you know I spoke too soon)

In this documentary we have a celebrity football player driving down a built up area at 56 mph. Speed limit is 30mph - he claims that a car "just pulled out in front of him". Sorry mate - that excuse doesn't work when you are driving at that speed. two people were killed in the car that he hit.

The street that I live in has a the usual 30mph limit. Now that is ludicrous. It is a terraced housing type of road. I would say that 15mph would be a better limit (ok maybe 20mph).

Our Gov't is apparently thinking about limiting the numbers of passengers that a newly qualified driver can carry. To be honest - if a "boy racer" gets killed, I really don't care. Neither do I care how many passengers he was carrying. I care when he endangers my life or my wife's life.

Again this a subject that "depends where you live". I am familiar with driving around London, Manchester, Birmingham, Stoke, Liverpool .... and more. Take a few days driving around Coventry. This place seems to be the "black hole" of driving standards. I am prepared to say that a very large % of drivers here have never taken a driving test (not in the UK).

Just to extend things a bit. We have all met people that really don't come up to standard when it comes to brain power. I have no problems with them at all - it takes "all sorts" to make a world. With brain power or not - i like them, I have had many friendships with people like this, they have a great deal to offer society. The trouble is, some of these "not too bright" people actually drive cars!

How frightening is that to think about when you are driving at 70mph, and another car is coming the other way at 70mph. Wow 140 mph impact - no chance of survival out of that, but it could have been one of those ......
Alan

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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby FlatbushPaul » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:36 am

It is amazing how youth gives us that invincable feeling. I hate to say that I can remember weaving in and out of traffic when I was a young fellow. Although I like to prop myself up in the fast lane now, I have fear now that prevents me from overdoing it. I rarely go above the speed limit now that I am older. And I never weave in and out. And speeding in a residential area is just ridiculous. My daughter lives in a development that has 10 MPH speed bumps all through it. I think it's a great idea. it really helps to tone down the traffic.

Great post Alan!
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Stinkykid » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:42 am

A lot of rubbish is said about speed being dangerous. I think what is dangerous is bad driving, which certainly includes excessive speed, but is more often about lack of awareness and care. Statistics are worthless because speed is commonly noted as the cause of accidents when the driver was above the speed limit, regardless of what the real cause was.

There was a big multiple accident in the US recently which was blamed on speed, but I would suggest that the real cause was heavy fog combined with people driving too close to the car in front. In conditions like that you need to know that you can stop within the distance that is visible.

Everyone knows that 100mph is very safe in a modern car with good handling, powerful brakes, on a motorway, in clear, dry conditions and light traffic, if you pay attention to the road ahead. When you drive on the German autobahns much faster than this and notice that drivers pay attention to their mirrors and move out of the way of fast cars, you see how safe those speeds can be when the standard of driving is good. Speed is only one factor and not by any means the most significant factor in road safety.

30mph is certainly a safe speed limit anywhere but of course you're an idiot if you don't slow down further when parked cars cause the road to narrow. Reducing speed limits below this because of idiots is counter-productive because everybody will then ignore the limits because they're unnecessary and annoying.

What really annoys me is when the news programmes or documentaries trot out some poor parent whose kid was killed by a speeding motorist. It is surely a terrible tragedy, but their opinion is hardly going to be impartial or balanced on the matter and it should play a very limited role in such a debate. And they shouldn't be put through the pain again on TV just to make a point that isn't valid. They will invariably state that "if just one life is saved it is worth reducing the speed limits", which is an absurd thing to say. If that were true the speed limit should be 10mph everywhere so that every single death can be prevented. The country would grind to a halt and you would never leave your village. Life is full of risk and you just need to have the sense to behave appropriately on the road and not put others at risk through your lack of care.

I hope none of that comes across as insensitive. There are real issues of course but speed is a red herring more often than not.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby KevinM » Wed May 01, 2013 6:14 pm

I am finding a general discourteous nature with drivers more these days than just speeding. Texting while driving is definitely prevalent in my part of the country. If you honk at a person stopped at a green light texting, they look at you non-chalantly, then the head goes down while the texting continues and they through the stop light blindly. Its just horrible, horrible driving etiquette and complete disregard for the equipment they are operating or others around them. Major ad campaigns are on-going with parents of kids killed in accidents showing the last text their kids were working on before being killed. These parents arent blaming anyone but their kids ignorance for texting and driving, and are imploring others not to do so. I think this is admirable. Back in the day pre-cell phone, etc., you were indiposed while driving. No one could call you, and you just simply focused on getting to your destination. I think the use of cell phones, IPods, etc. in moving vehicles should be outlawed, and those involved in life ending accidents while doing this should be treated as criminally as drinking and driving. You are concientiously making a decision to ignore your surroundings and others around you.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby eric » Wed May 01, 2013 8:46 pm

Stinkykid wrote:A lot of rubbish is said about speed being dangerous.


I agree wholeheartedly up to a point. Speed, by itself, does not cause collisions - it will almost always be some form of driver error. Lack of skill, bad choices, impairments, etc.

The thing is, speed combined with driver error compounds the danger more than anything. No matter how skilled a driver you are, how well you handle your vehicle, if a kid darts out into the street and you are driving at 60mph there's likely going to be a tragedy. Sure its the kids (and his parents') fault, but that really doesn't matter. Such a tragedy is less likely to happen when the car is going slower.

In the example above, in Alan's post, had the soccer player been driving somewhere around the posted speed limit, the collision probably wouldn't have happened, or may not have been fatal.

The U.S. is not ready for it's own autobahn. Reason being that our society just doesn't tolerate the kind of restrictions and demands placed on drivers in Germany. I believe, that in Germany, you actually have to demonstrate considerable skill to get and keep a license to drive. Here, pretty much anyone can have a license to drive, and no politician will ever enforce a proper degree of driving competence. So, we get artificially low speed limits on the freeways and interstate highways.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Brett » Wed May 01, 2013 9:06 pm

I've come to a conclusion, based upon years of observation.
If you want to kill someone, run them over in a car.
The heaviest sentence you'll probably get is a driving ban for a couple of years, and maybe 6 months in jail.
Ridiculous, I know.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby RompinDonkey » Wed May 01, 2013 9:16 pm

I've got mixed feelings about some of these so called "lenient" sentences that get handed out. I'm not talking about "road rage" incidents or very high speed collisions, or downright reckless driving - just where someone made a mistake, and unfortunately for them, someone died. Lets say, a momentary lapse in concentration, just at the wrong time and place .... (I'm not including in that "momentary lapse" mobile phone issues either" - it just beats me how everyday you see people struggling to negotiate their cars around town - cos they are on the phone. They are so blatent about it as well).

We all make mistakes, and have probably all been lucky at times that the mistake didn't have any consequences whatsoever.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Falconeer » Wed May 01, 2013 9:32 pm

From Occupational Psychology I knew for many years we went through what was called the "Exploratory Phase" until we were about 25 - but what we didn't know til just before we left Spain (and Rhona is a highly qualified Psychiatric Nurse who has worked up to Depute Matron ( Scottish Term) ) is that the "Risk Centre" in the brain does not fully develope until around the same age.

On the A1 today, however, heading North in our own lane twice we have had to brake sharply and take avoiding action because an eejit coming South on a two lane section got impatient and decided he'd overtake three slow lorries, cut into our lane, and hang the consequences - and we drive what in the States is marketed as a Buick Regal ( 2.5 litre Vauxhall Sigma for UK drivers) which has a certain ammount of road presence.

Personally the quicker people like that write themselves off the happpier I shall be - so long as they don't take innocent people with them
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby RompinDonkey » Wed May 01, 2013 9:49 pm

Falconeer wrote:From Occupational Psychology I knew for many years we went through what was called the "Exploratory Phase" until we were about 25 - but what we didn't know til just before we left Spain (and Rhona is a highly qualified Psychiatric Nurse who has worked up to Depute Matron ( Scottish Term) ) is that the "Risk Centre" in the brain does not fully dvelope until around the same age.



That part about the risk centre of the brain not developing until mid twenties, was mentioned in the BBC TV prog that I mentioned in the OP. Bit worrying really, as you can pass a test at 17 (or at least you could), has it changed?
Alan

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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby RompinDonkey » Wed May 01, 2013 9:52 pm

I suppose the main factor in all of this is the attitude of the newly qualified driver. Does that driver think that he is the best driver on the road, and the test was just a formality, because he isn't one of the idiots. Or does he recognise his lack of experience, and drive accordingly?
Alan

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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby eric » Thu May 02, 2013 7:20 am

Brett wrote:I've come to a conclusion, based upon years of observation.
If you want to kill someone, run them over in a car.
The heaviest sentence you'll probably get is a driving ban for a couple of years, and maybe 6 months in jail.
Ridiculous, I know.


Some years ago in California (I think) an 89 year-old man confused his brake pedal with the accelerator pedal (this is what he admitted to) and killed ten people and injured over sixty people when he sped through a street closed off for a crowded open air farmers market. They handed him his hat and sent him home.

He was found guilty of ten counts of vehicular manslaughter, but they only gave him probation and ordered he pay restitution. The judge said he'd just be a burden on the system if they put him in jail the rest of his life.

That sentence brings up a crucial question about justice and the penal system. Granted, there are an assortment of reasons we punish people who do wrong - to get them off the streets and to make them feel regret for what they did. But it seems to me one of the main reasons we have a justice system was missed with this sentence.

We lock people up and otherwise punish them so the rest of society can feel safe that they live in a civilized society, i.e. where someone can't just end ten lives and injure sixty people in a span of ten seconds and live out the rest of his life with a lighter bank account. I don't mean the immediate safety of being protected from the individual. I'll concede he wasn't likely to hurt anyone during his remaining years, and it turns out he didn't. I guess I'm talking about a sense of order.

And no, sticking him in prison for the rest of his life wouldn't have brought those ten people back, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was tortured by the knowledge of what he'd done the rest of his life. The thing is, its not about him.

Another element of this - the government was as much to blame as the driver was for issuing him his license and being to afraid to implement a policy that acknowledges what happens as we grow older. At some point in my life, my reflexes and cognitive abilities will decline due to old age. Past a certain age they should be more careful about keeping me licensed to drive. But they won't because politicians deal in voter blocks, and seasoned citizens are great voters. What politician in his right mind wants to tell them they'll need to return to the DMV every year after a given age to pass a driving test?

You can read about this incident here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Russell_Weller
Eric

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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Stinkykid » Thu May 02, 2013 11:45 am

eric wrote:
Stinkykid wrote:A lot of rubbish is said about speed being dangerous.

The U.S. is not ready for it's own autobahn. Reason being that our society just doesn't tolerate the kind of restrictions and demands placed on drivers in Germany. I believe, that in Germany, you actually have to demonstrate considerable skill to get and keep a license to drive. Here, pretty much anyone can have a license to drive, and no politician will ever enforce a proper degree of driving competence. So, we get artificially low speed limits on the freeways and interstate highways.

According to my wife (who is German - don't mention the war), if you fail the driving test three times in Germany you have to see a psychiatrist and pass an assessment before you are allowed to attempt the test again. I think that's a good idea. Some people simply don't seem able to concentrate on the task in hand or make appropriate judgements on the road.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby KevinM » Thu May 02, 2013 1:01 pm

"That sentence brings up a crucial question about justice and the penal system. Granted, there are an assortment of reasons we punish people who do wrong - to get them off the streets and to make them feel regret for what they did. But it seems to me one of the main reasons we have a justice system was missed with this sentence."

I look at this situation as a true mistake on the part of the elderly man. He did not purposefully commit this mistake and it was not his intention to mix up the gas and the brake. Blame it on his age and his inability to drive, but the fault in that case lies with the DMV for not properly screening him out and "turning the other way" when it came to re-issuing his license again and again and again. However, when someone gets behind the wheel of the car drunk, shaves or applies make-up while driving, or texts or talks on a cell phone while driving, then my interpretation of their mistakes changes. They were now intentionally doing something that distracted them from safe driving. Sure, the accidents and deaths they cause while doing this is a mistake and I am sure non-intentional, but they were still a result of their intentional disregard for safe driving practices.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Brett » Thu May 02, 2013 10:51 pm

KevinM wrote:"That sentence brings up a crucial question about justice and the penal system. Granted, there are an assortment of reasons we punish people who do wrong - to get them off the streets and to make them feel regret for what they did. But it seems to me one of the main reasons we have a justice system was missed with this sentence."

I look at this situation as a true mistake on the part of the elderly man. He did not purposefully commit this mistake and it was not his intention to mix up the gas and the brake.



Or maybe he got pissed of with the noise from the crowded open air farmers market, and decided to do something about it.... or maybe he only intended to run over one person an the others were just collateral damage.

The point is, (in this example) for killing 10 people and injuring 60 others, he walked free from court.
What if he had held a legally-owned gun and "accidently" shot & killed several people? Or "accidently" put something poisonous in a whiskey bottle and 10 people drank from it & died?
Would he still have walked free?
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby RompinDonkey » Fri May 03, 2013 12:57 am

Brett - have you been drinking?
Alan

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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby KevinM » Fri May 03, 2013 1:07 am

Brett wrote:
KevinM wrote:"That sentence brings up a crucial question about justice and the penal system. Granted, there are an assortment of reasons we punish people who do wrong - to get them off the streets and to make them feel regret for what they did. But it seems to me one of the main reasons we have a justice system was missed with this sentence."

I look at this situation as a true mistake on the part of the elderly man. He did not purposefully commit this mistake and it was not his intention to mix up the gas and the brake.



Or maybe he got pissed of with the noise from the crowded open air farmers market, and decided to do something about it.... or maybe he only intended to run over one person an the others were just collateral damage.

The point is, (in this example) for killing 10 people and injuring 60 others, he walked free from court.
What if he had held a legally-owned gun and "accidently" shot & killed several people? Or "accidently" put something poisonous in a whiskey bottle and 10 people drank from it & died?
Would he still have walked free?


To be honest, it truly depends on the context of the situation IMO. If the man was firing his firearm and it accidently jammed due to manufacturer malfunction, he lost control and it fired randomly into a crowd of people, then would he be at fault for negligence or purposeful conduct? Same with the whiskey bottle. If he was storing pesticide in an old whiskey bottle, put it in his garage, then vandals broke in and all drank from the bottle and died chasing cheap thrills, would the man be at fault or conducted a malicious and thought out act? Accidents do happen. Do you want to be held accountable if your brake system failed and you hit and killed someone with your vehicle? I mean, lets face it, you were driving the car, right? Even though an accident not purposefully conducted, you were still responsible for the death, right?
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Stinkykid » Fri May 03, 2013 11:17 am

I find it hard to accept that pushing the throttle pedal instead of the brake isn't negligence. It doesn't sound like an accident to me, it sounds like lack of proper care and attention with tragic consequences. And if the driver is not capable of controlling the car then he really should not drive it, and by choosing to drive in that condition he put lives at risk. It's no defence to say the licencing authority should have stopped him.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby KevinM » Fri May 03, 2013 2:21 pm

Stinkykid wrote:I find it hard to accept that pushing the throttle pedal instead of the brake isn't negligence. It doesn't sound like an accident to me, it sounds like lack of proper care and attention with tragic consequences. And if the driver is not capable of controlling the car then he really should not drive it, and by choosing to drive in that condition he put lives at risk. It's no defence to say the licencing authority should have stopped him.


I agree its negligence, but not criminal intent. I am not sure what the proper way of penalizing or punishing this individual for his actions is, but I don't feel he committed murder.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Stinkykid » Fri May 03, 2013 4:32 pm

He should be taken out and shot. It may sound harsh but you'll thank me later.
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Re: Licence To Kill

Postby Brett » Fri May 03, 2013 6:04 pm

I did have a nice cup of tea earlier, but not sure how that is relevant.
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