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Death by Careless Driving

On the radio this morning there was an discussion about creating an offence for death by careless driving for when an offence covered by careless driving causes a death.

This seems strange to me as it implies you are less in the wrong if you do not cause a death.

There was a growing trend for legal penalities to become more about revenge then justice, although it seemed to be curved when politicians stopped stepping in to interfere with sentancing. Surely this is just bringing it back.

Although it's tragic if someone happens to be killed due to careless driving, drivers are no more in the wrong for doing it then if they were lucky and didn't harm anyone.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_robhu
11th Sep, 2006 23:36 (UTC)
Its like murder and attempted murder isn't it? *grumble*

Religion has a large part to play in this culture of revenge *more grumbling*.
cartesiandaemon
12th Sep, 2006 01:28 (UTC)
Religion has a large part to play in this culture of revenge *more grumbling*.
Maybe. On the other hand, say, repentence and absolution is central to some chunk of christianity?
ex_robhu
12th Sep, 2006 06:38 (UTC)
Re: Religion has a large part to play in this culture of revenge *more grumbling*.
Yes. Both are true.
cartesiandaemon
12th Sep, 2006 01:26 (UTC)
I agree there is a worrying trend, and also that if two people have the same intent, they logically must have the same moral culpability.

Also, specifically that unsafe driving is relatively common, and imposing very harsh sentences on people who then kill someone is likely to have no benefit at all, whereas catching a large proportion of people who drive unsafely would.

However, I don't know if I can agree completely with the intentions=wrongness. It feels right for attempted murder to be a "lesser" crime than murder, for some reason.

Also, you say "about revenge rather than justice". I would not have said justice there, for people seem to have different conceptions of justice, which take different things into account. It seems like sentences serve three purposes: deterrence of that person or someone else (so people don't commit crimes, else this); prevention (if you're in jail, you *can't* commit crimes); and a feeling that if there is a wrong, there *should* be a corresponding punishment, within which I'm not sure where justice stops and revenge begins.
(Anonymous)
12th Sep, 2006 18:44 (UTC)
Having spent thirty years trying to persuade people not to kill each other and it is fairly simple, as long as you can stop well within half the distance you can see to be clear, it is virtually impossible to damage anything or anyone. If we all did this, the drop in road casualties would really drop and then all you have to deal with is those with affective disorders as they literally don't care. Theoretically if we concentrated and all drove according to the 'stop in half the distance rule', we would not need speed limits.
hmmm_tea
13th Sep, 2006 12:09 (UTC)
feels right for attempted murder to be a "lesser" crime than murder, for some reason.

It does, but why should it?

I think it's matter of criminal law being too influenced by emotions. Many crimes will naturally cause strong emotional responses.

But surely it's more about the potential harm it could have done rather than what actually happened as there are so many other variables involved which are out of the control of the person carrying out the said crime and cannot really be said to effect how wrong those persons actions are?

If someone's walking along the road and I want to shoot them and they trip up causing me to miss. Does that really make it any less bad than if I actually achieved my original aim?
cartesiandaemon
13th Sep, 2006 12:25 (UTC)
(a) Why should it? Why else should it? What source for any justice (or morality) can there be other than one's internal sense?

On the other hand, if I try to be objective about this and remove emotion, is there any place for justice? Maybe we should just have laws that try to make things better for people, and if punishing someone has no *useful* function, not to? Yet most people would be abhored by that as well.

(b) There may be *some* rationalisations for attempted murder. For instance, maybe more (but not all) attempted murders fail because the person *is* less committed to it than someone else who succeeds?
hmmm_tea
13th Sep, 2006 15:02 (UTC)
Surely the ideal situation is for people, providing they do their best to minimise the impact on other people, to do whatever they please.

In which case it's more the potential impact on other people that matters, which is pretty much the same for attempted murder as murder as the potential to achieve the result of the latter is still there in the former.

Maybe we should just have laws that try to make things better for people, and if punishing someone has no *useful* function, not to?

Sounds sensible to me.

For instance, maybe more (but not all) attempted murders fail because the person *is* less committed to it than someone else who succeeds?

Yes, but that isn't always the case and the motivation was still there enough for them to try. A committed person could easily fail to commit the murder due to other influences (and be arrest before making another attempt for example), surely they would deserve to be treated as if they had succeeded?

Similar a non-committed person could succeed due to everything else being in their favour.
chess
16th Sep, 2006 13:01 (UTC)
ISTR that the only difference between Murder and Attempted Murder as a verdict was that the judge had more leeway to reduce the sentence for Attempted Murder - they both had the same maximum penalty, as of last time I looked into this.
cartesiandaemon
18th Sep, 2006 12:01 (UTC)
Ah, I guess that makes sense. They can both be as bad, but if an attempted murder is seriously half-assed, or excessively impulsive or non under control, it can be treated less draconianly.

PS, Owen, "Yes, but that isn't always the case"

Indeed. I was musing why it might feel like that, not trying to lay down the law -- I did say "rationalisation" :)
cartesiandaemon
18th Sep, 2006 11:59 (UTC)
Sounds sensible to me.

But you mention Justice as a reason to do things; are those compatible?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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