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Old 04-24-2013, 03:44 PM   #1
colodak OP
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Update to fatal crash post

IN March I posted the following about a friend who recently died from injuries sustained in motorcycle crash last year. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=871782

Thought I would post an update and some new details. Some new details that I have learned about the above accident, that I wasn't aware of previously and some new changes.


The scumbag in the accident was originally charged with Careless Driving, in January he was offered a plea bargain which he didn't take. The charge has now been updated to Careless Driving Resulting in Death. The max penalty, is 12 points 1 yr in Jail, and $1,000 fine. If he has no priors, he will probably get $500 in fines, 4 points, and 30 days.

Scumbag in question is 20 yrs old, he pulled out in front of my friend, a distance of less than 3 car lengths. Even after being struck he tried to drive off, but was stopped because his car wouldn't drive properly and witnesses. He had been out partying the night before, but the levels of marijuana in his system were not high enough for that to be considered an amplifier to his charges (which is interesting vs. if it had been alcohol).
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by colodak View Post
....Scumbag in question is 20 yrs old, he pulled out in front of my friend, a distance of less than 3 car lengths.
That does sound like Careless Driving. And it did, unfortunately, result in a death. Not like the guy got out of bed and decided "I'm gonna go find me a motorcyclist to kill!"

Sorry about your friend, he's still just as dead.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:53 PM   #3
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there is hope that it could be upped again to vehicular manslaughter, but that is unlikely
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by colodak View Post
there is hope that it could be upped again to vehicular manslaughter, but that is unlikely
I don't understand the law and driving. Had he driven over a pedestrian would the charge be the same? Or walked up and punched your friend? Why are motorcycle and bicycle riders on their own? The word accident should be removed from the lexicon. In the local paper, A motorcycle was run over by a semi last week in Wyoming on I80. The truck driver didn't see him driving straight in his lane overtook him and drove right over the bike, rider died at the scene. No charges have been filed yet.
Sorry for your loss.
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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I don't understand the law and driving. Had he driven over a pedestrian would the charge be the same? Or walked up and punched your friend? Why are motorcycle and bicycle riders on their own? The word accident should be removed from the lexicon. In the local paper, A motorcycle was run over by a semi last week in Wyoming on I80. The truck driver didn't see him driving straight in his lane overtook him and drove right over the bike, rider died at the scene. No charges have been filed yet.
Sorry for your loss.
Because the penalty is not a deterrent in cases like this I would presume.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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Because the penalty is not a deterrent in cases like this I would presume.
Don't think that's the case, as the penalty isn't a deterrent in many ways. You'd think the death penalty would stop killings... not so much.

My take is that judges etc look at these as "yeah, those motorcycles are hard to see". And it's hard to prove otherwise. A perp will simply swear up and down they didn't see them... without alcohol etc to prove negligence...

This is why I always advocate doing what you can to "be seen". It's critical for us.

Sorry about this OP, it really does suck.

Cheers
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by colodak View Post
there is hope that it could be upped again to vehicular manslaughter, but that is unlikely
It should be a condition of any deal made with the charges that he pay restitution to the family of the deceased. Miss a payment? Go to prison.

Better to let the scumbag walk out in the world, but squeeze his wallet early and often.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #8
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Don't think that's the case, as the penalty isn't a deterrent in many ways. You'd think the death penalty would stop killings... not so much.

My take is that judges etc look at these as "yeah, those motorcycles are hard to see". And it's hard to prove otherwise. A perp will simply swear up and down they didn't see them... without alcohol etc to prove negligence...

This is why I always advocate doing what you can to "be seen". It's critical for us.

Sorry about this OP, it really does suck.

Cheers
I don't have a criminal mind, but if I had one, I would take into account the chance I wouldn't get caught as well, as far as murdering goes. I would be surprised if deliberate murders didn't go up if the country abolished the death penalty and surprised if it didn't go down if every state adopted it.

With these SMIDSY deaths, the drives aren't calculating anything, they never intended or desired to kill anyone, unlike a murderer. So on one hand, there's no deterrent needed. Additionally to that, their minds literally do not register the bike being there, so even if the death penalty was applied to it, it would not make a difference, they're still going to kill the biker. What does severely penalizing the driver do? Costs more tax dollars, that's about all. They aren't a dangerous driver, all drivers are dangerous, what does it matter which one takes you out?
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
I don't have a criminal mind, but if I had one, I would take into account the chance I wouldn't get caught as well, as far as murdering goes. I would be surprised if deliberate murders didn't go up if the country abolished the death penalty and surprised if it didn't go down if every state adopted it.

With these SMIDSY deaths, the drives aren't calculating anything, they never intended or desired to kill anyone, unlike a murderer. So on one hand, there's no deterrent needed. Additionally to that, their minds literally do not register the bike being there, so even if the death penalty was applied to it, it would not make a difference, they're still going to kill the biker. What does severely penalizing the driver do? Costs more tax dollars, that's about all. They aren't a dangerous driver, all drivers are dangerous, what does it matter which one takes you out?
Anyone out there understand this guy's line of reasoning?

This is the kind of attitude that puts dangerous drivers back on the road.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:45 AM   #10
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[/QUOTE]

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Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
I don't have a criminal mind, but if I had one, I would take into account the chance I wouldn't get caught as well, as far as murdering goes.
You don't have a criminal mind at least in part BECAUSE you take into account consequences beyond the next 10 minutes to 24 hours.

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I would be surprised if deliberate murders didn't go up if the country abolished the death penalty and surprised if it didn't go down if every state adopted it.
Do some reading. It really shouldn't come as a surprise to you that criminal minds think in quite different ways to you.

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With these SMIDSY deaths, the drives aren't calculating anything, they never intended or desired to kill anyone, unlike a murderer.
While this may be true of some planned murders; in many cases an otherwise likeable idiot suffers a rush of blood to the head and does something incredibly stupid. For example, advertising aimed at getting people to look after their drunk mates in public is designed to reduce assaults by drunks.

But getting back to your main point, drivers:

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Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
So on one hand, there's no deterrent needed.
There was a proposal a while back to dramatically increase penalties against car drivers who open car doors in front of cyclists. At the time I wrote:
Unlike speeding or running red lights, accidental "dooring" of cyclists is something no one sets out to do.
How many of us have any idea what the fine for driving on the wrong side of the road is? We don't drive on the left simply because we might get fined for driving on the right, and the few who do are typically foreign tourists having a brainfade.
Likewise, for the vast majority of motorists and right side back seat passengers, the prospect of injuring a cyclist with a door is quite sufficient motivation not to do so, and the prospect of a fine will make no difference to behaviour.
In safety terms, dooring is not a deliberate act in defiance of safety rules, it's a true lapse of attention. As such, the problem is likely to respond to advertising and awareness campaigns (which cost money) and less likely to respond to increased penalties after the event (which do not cost money) without any attempt to improve awareness.
A single TAC* advertisment addressing the issue would make far more difference than increasing a fine which people will only find out about when they've already done the deed.
*TAC is the Transport Accident Commission; the Government organisation that manages compulsory transport accident injury insurance in my state. They have very considerable input into road safety policy as well as funding high profile road safety awareness advertisments on the basis that they pay for themselves in reduced claims. If you're not an Aussie, you may still have seen TAC advertisments on youtube.

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Additionally to that, their minds literally do not register the bike being there, so even if the death penalty was applied to it, it would not make a difference, they're still going to kill the biker. What does severely penalizing the driver do? Costs more tax dollars, that's about all. They aren't a dangerous driver, all drivers are dangerous, what does it matter which one takes you out?
Penalties stop people doing things they might otherwise decide to do.
Education helps make people think about the consequences of doing things they think are harmless, or of forgetting to do things they may think are unimportant, like consciously having a good hard look for motorcyclists.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:55 AM   #11
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I know legislating behavior is a tricky thing and often doesn't work and even creates unintended consequences. I still think we need to look carefully to figure out a way to create better situational awareness of all drivers on the road. The reason we see better isn't because our vision is better. It is because we have trained our minds that the consequences for inattentiveness is severe. This means we tend to be better drivers as well as riders.

So how do we make the consequences of inattentive driving severed enough to make people change their behavior? Car makers haven't helped because cars are so much safer today. There is little risk of personal injury in a car if the passengers are wearing seatbelts. The moral code that would cause guilt for taking the life of a biker is reducing all the time as is the moral code for just about everything else. So what is left? How do we make people pay more attention? I think it is time to make legal consequences so harsh that people have it at the front of their mind every time they start the engine.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:49 AM   #12
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So how do we make the consequences of inattentive driving severed enough to make people change their behavior?
You don't.
Inattentive driving is not a deliberate act in defiance of rules, it's not a decision to do or fail to do something despite the possible consequences, so changing the likely consequences, no matter how severe, won't change the behaviour.

Do people drive on the correct side of the road and give way to motorcyclists because of the fines for not doing so? No.

Do people obey speed limits and stop at stop signs before deciding whether there is a motorcycle they need to give way to because of the potential fines? Yes.

Does a low penalty with a high probability of being caught work better than a high penalty with low probability of being caught? Every time!

Fining lots of people for not stopping completely at stop signs will achieve far more than locking the few drivers who are involved in crashes away for years.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:30 AM   #13
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You don't.
Inattentive driving is not a deliberate act in defiance of rules, it's not a decision to do or fail to do something despite the possible consequences, so changing the likely consequences, no matter how severe, won't change the behaviour.
Would your driving habits change if you knew there was a 10% chance that the airbags in your car contained a sword that would pierce your heart if it ever deployed? Would you be more attentive? Would you make a deliberate effort to be more aware of your following distance and take measures to minimize distractions?

Of course this is an extreme example but it illustrates that inattentive driving is a deliberate act brought on by the lack of negative consequences. There is very little incentive for most people to pay attention when driving and therefore, most people don't view a fatal collision as a deliberate act but just an accident.

I can't say how things are in Australia but here in the US, there is a serious mindset problem in general and most of the time, it doesn't bother me. When a person with a "condition white" mindset gets behind the wheel of a 2 ton hunk of steel, their mindset becomes my problem.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:44 PM   #14
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....I think it is time to make legal consequences so harsh that people have it at the front of their mind every time they start the engine.
You think that until such time as you or someone close to you makes a mistake.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #15
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This thread boggles my mind. I guess that's ok because I didn't see it coming.

Seriously, SMIDSY is a defense for nothing, IMHO. It may be technically or academically interesting and rich fodder for defense lawyers but not only is it ridiculous as a defense, it's also correctable.

I was an airline pilot for 25 years, long enough to catch the tail end of an era where mechanical failure became almost unknown and the powers that be focused on human factors. We had (and they still have) hundreds of hours of training which was initially received with skepticism (to put it mildly) but the results have been impressive. Human factors training is very sophisticated these days and SMIDSY as an inevitable, uncontrollable, faultless event is without foundation. SMIDSY happens because of any number of things, all controllable or trainable.

It's also addressable more globally, as others have pointed out, in initial driver ed. The US licensing system and Driver Ed is a joke compared to the rest of the world.
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