back to article British drivers face jail for causing death by dangerous driving

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has released its definitive guidelines (pdf) for sentencing in cases of dangerous driving which result in death, describing them as "serious" and worthy of "appropriate sentences". The guidelines tackle four offences: causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by careless driving under …

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Dead Vulture

Pointless sentence for a pointless offence

There is absolutely no need for a causing death by dangerous driving offence.

Its either murder or it is manslaughter.

Getting behind the wheel when pissed should be classed as attempted murder.

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hmmm

"Other guidelines recommend a tariff of up to three years' prison "where death follows careless driving", with "higher sentences where there is a combination of aggravating factors", plus a maximum of two years "where death results from an offence involving driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured"

- wtf? so no insurance etc gets you sod all? for me hammer the uninsured. they are dangerous and will screw you up if you have a collision with them.

driving under the influence is an odd one. i dont (couldnt live with myself if i hit someone whilst high, plus you will never know if it would have happened or not otherwise) but the mrs smokes pot and drives. she drives much slower and is generally a better driver than when straight. also if fighter pilots can fly supersonic jet planes on speed (army issue) then why cant we? drugs like ephedrine, speed and coke all enhance your reactions! they are banned in sports events for a reason...

also - you may cause death by being 'high' but was it actually your fault? seems harsh if you have a collision caused by someone else then they find you are high and you get 14 years!

generally a good rule as people should be straight whilst driving - maybe also a rule for people like my mum who thinks she needs to speak with her hands even when driving (scary shit hehe)

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Anonymous Coward

How about some commenting guidelines

Having had a quick scan of the comments on the BBC's version of this article (twat-o-tron overload) I expect to see a flood of comments along the lines of "why can't they give longer sentences to <insert serious crime>; only the other day a bloke murdered five kiddies and got off with community service!!!!!".

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Dead Vulture

Funny stories

http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=13132&sid=ef9dd846027f916224a445cd0894abc9

(what people get up to behind the wheel)

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/dangerous-driving-convictions-drop-ctc-fuming-16249

(ctc view on dangerous driving)

http://dev.bikeforall.net/news.php?articleshow=281

(as is this one)

The last one shows there is no clear definition of "dangerous driving" .... this needs to be clarified urgently

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Anonymous Coward

Lawmaking with due care and attention

So basically, whenever an accident occurs, the parents will come on TV, do their sobbing, and to appease them you'll do a dangerous driving conviction for every accident.

And the chance of conviction will be the difference between how plausible a victim is and how plausible a bad guy the suspect is. Regardless of the details of the case.

Let me guess, there was something on TV and the politicians felt it necessary to rush out some new law to ride that PR wave? Was that it? Or perhaps something in the papers?

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@Pointless sentence

Yeah, but for some reason it's NEVER treated as such, so over here we have people killing people on bicycles and motorcycles and in other cars, and it's "$80 and 200 hrs community service"

And I'm not exaggerating.

One of the reasons I'm in the American Motorcycle Assn is that my member fees pay for lobbyists to push exactly this sort of law, plus I've also contributed $1000 extra earmarked specifically to the lobbying efforts.

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Dead Vulture

Twat-o-tron

I think it is about time to reconsider the words of poet John Cooper-Clarke:

"Bring back hangin' for everyone"

It's the only way to really stop crime.

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Stop

Proof...

Regarding the texting part of the legislation, if you just received a text, and then crash how can they prove you were reading it at the time, or had pulled over read it and the crashed or you could drive for five minutes till you think you are in a safer place to read the text and then crash. It's going to be very difficult to prove.

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Anonymous Coward

When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?

See title.

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Yet another...

...highly interpretive law they can use to kick you when you're down.

Its either murder, manslaughter or an accident. Stop trying to blur the very well defined lines, this an attempt to gain yet more power over the legal system.

"So we can't get him on manslaughter, because it's looking like it was an accident. Don't worry though, we can still get him..."

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Harsh but fair?

"Getting behind the wheel when pissed should be classed as attempted murder."

That does have a neat logic to it. Under these guidelines someone who glances at their phone to see who's calling and then mows down an old lady crossing the street will be done for causing death by careless driving and could go down for three years. Someone who glances down at their phone and is spotted by a police officer but causes no accident is liable to an on the spot fine of £60 and three points on their license - yet both people have done exactly the same thing. That was why so many people avoided jail in cases of careless driving (as opposed to dangerous driving or driving under the influence, which are more serious) because the law used to be based on punishing the deed. Now it's based on punishing the consequences of that deed, which is probably less 'just' but satisfies our vengeance culture. The flipside would be to punish every careless driver with prison - but then that's probably unworkable, even in this prison happy country.

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Coat

Murder or Manslaughter

Amen AC (14:08): You're absolutely right; a car is a deadly projectile... in the hands of an incompetent or impared driver it is no more different than wandering around the street blindly waving a loaded shotgun.

I like the way the word "accident" keeps getting brandished about. I once had an "accident"; the first winter after passing my test I slid across the road and bumped into the opposite kerb damaging nothing more than my pride. THAT is an accident. When I took out two sheep on a country road many years later I very nearly didn't ever get back in the vehicle m- even though technically it was not my fault. There is an attitude problem rife in this country... cars are seen as a right, and not a responsibilty. This needs to be addressed.

Right - I'll just put my 9inch Daily Mail back into my pocket.

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Flame

Bloomin' cyclists

Given http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/7496757.stm , I think cyclists should get their own house in order before they start moaning about deaths by dangerous drivers.

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Flame

@ "When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?"

Oh do piss off, you vile twunt.

Do you think it would be better to have all the smokers driving round in a nicotine-withdrawl rage? Just how much concentration do you think it requires to smoke a cig, anyway?

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Martin

Oof. Calm down, Martin. Have a fag.

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Anonymous Coward

@Liam RE: other person's fault

IIRC a few years ago there was a was big story on the local news that started something like: "Woman's husband killed by drink driver but she has to pay for it". Turned out that although the woman's husband was killed in a car crash, and the other driver was drunk the accident had been entirely her husband's fault (he pulled out without looking, the drunk wasn't even speeding). The pay bit was she lost her no-claims and excess.

The drunk driver was only charged with drink driving (and banned of course) and nothing else.

Which implies at least that in order to cause death by <insert death causing medium here> you have to actually cause the death and not just be an incidental part of it.

Regarding the potted driving I think the problems are (1) she drives slower. That is going to piss a lot of people off and possibly cause more accidents and (2) her reactions also will be slower, so although she may well be taking more initial care and reducing her speed somewhat she will not be as equipped to deal with surprises as a non druggy driver.

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Anonymous Coward

Tough on crime, tough on stuff that loosely correlates with crime

Is this 2 laws a day now? I'm wonder here, it looks like they get up at 5am, do a breakfast meeting, read the papers, knock up a law before breakfast, publish it by noon and have the interview points for the evening news.... regrets follow much later..

And that insurance thing is a joke, there's no causal link between not having insurance and having accidents. There may be a correlation, but then so is driving a red car, or having spiky hair, being old. Yeh driving while old could get an extra 2 year penalty....

So what have we run out of causality and now being tough on correlations?

Or are they making the laws *before* the morning coffee kicks in now? I guess if I watch British TV tonight, I can predict what tomorrows laws will be? Not even a pretense of leadership, just do whatever the morning papers tell you to do?

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Paris Hilton

S'funny, I thought only speed kills?

Saw an article in the Saturday Bigot on, um, Saturday about some bint who crashed into another car on the motorway, killing the other driver. Of course the headline screamed about her doing 95Mph and it was only in the test of said article that it mentioned she was twice the drink-driving limit AND using her mobile phone at the same time. if only there were more speed cameras around!

PH, cos she probably thinks speed cameras are the answer.

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That Drugged up driver

Its that kind of attitude that people used to have for drink drivers.

"Ive only had three pints. It makes me play pool better so I can drive" etc etc and other such bullshit.

You've had too much to drink (pretty much any), you smoked too much pot (no matter how much), the same to me. Youre both arseholes who should not be driving while in that state.

To claim that just cos your mrs drives slower and thats OK is just frankly mental. If she got caught Id hope the book got thrown at her. It doesnt matter if shes had an "accident" cos shes an accident waiting to happen if shes driving while stoned.

No excuses.

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@Lisa Parratt

that's right, one asshole who thinks he's got the right to be an arrogant tool makes ALL cyclists into murderers. What a pile of shit, really.

How many deaths are caused by cyclists? in the last year, last decade? not just in the Uk, lets go for the whole world eh? Get out of your polluting little personal world and smell the fumes.

Cyclists get it tight on the roads, I've had taxi drivers intentionally attempt to take me off my bike, people in their 4X4's thinking that it's cool to drive in excess of the 30mph speed limit less than a foot from you in suburban streets, busses, lorries, the list goes on.

Get out of your car and get onto a bike in whatever city you live in. I think it should be a requirement that every able bodied person who wants a driving license should have to cycle in their city for at least a month - then we might see some responsible driving.

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Bronze badge

@Concentration to smoke a cig

I've yet to see a smoker who could light up while concentrating on anything else. Hell, I had to shout at one to hit the brakes while he was lighting up and his car survived for that reason.

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@lee

"regarding the potted driving blablabla..........."

do you even know what you are talking about? do you have any evidence to back up the "fact" that it slows your reactions? i drive potted all the time and i concentrate a hell of alot more, and find that my reactions are alot better. are you even speaking from experience or are you just coming in with the usual "pot is evil" attitude? Fyi luv, different drugs have different effects, and no i dont drive mashed, bt having some actually helps my driving,so bugger off.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Martin

It's not the smoking, it's the lighting. You're playing with fire. I never got used to my dad using matches to light a cigarette while driving. It takes both hands and an amount of coordination and concentration that not everyone possesses and might lead to dire consequences when they're found lacking. It's also difficult to use your fag hand for anything other than steering or putting your ciggy in your mouth.

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b

cars are seen as a right, and not a responsibilty

For great swathes of the country cars are more of a necessity.

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@Stef and some other ramblings

I think that anyone who gets behind the wheel stoned deserves jail time - whether they have a collision or not. It's irresponsible and it's askign for someone to get killed. I think stricter penalties might emphasise that message and do some good but it seems like a very loose definition on what falls into different categories, meaning the whole thing is wide open for abuse...

In regards to Stef's comment above:

"people in their 4X4's thinking that it's cool to drive in excess of the 30mph speed limit less than a foot from you in suburban streets, busses, lorries, the list goes on."

-- Whatever the problems of cycling on the road, that's where bikes are supposed to be. I agree that the councils are not that great at getting bike lanes installed everywhere but even when they ARE in place, hardly any cyclists use them (at least not near Bristol).

Personally, I get sick to death of idiots on bikes slaloming through pedestrians and usually clipping someone in the process - It's got to the point where I'm quite willing to barge a cyclist into a wall if they get too close to me on the pavement - Turnabout is fair play and all that. (To clarify, I have no real issue with someone quietly pedaling along at not much more than a walking speed - They're being careful, so fine - it's the morons who think they're doing the downhill slalom that I despise...)

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IT Angle

2 laws/day? not even close

According to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/2254464/Gordon-Brown-breaks-record-for-new-laws.html

Currently cruising at 2800+ laws/year, up from 1700+ a couple of decades ago. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

At 10 months' sitting/year, 5 days/week call it a round 200 days, that is well over 10 laws/day. Add in the EU laws, and what do we get? And I wonder how that compares internationally. IT must be the wrong business to be in...

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Silver badge

In the word of Sargent Angel

'Road traffic collision' because 'accident' implies that no-one is at fault.

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Paris Hilton

@Lisa

So cyclists cannot complain about the poor drivers because one cyclist does something wrong.

By that logic, you should STFU and get your own house in order - you are a human being and so is Mugabe, so sort out inflation first.

Predicable icon

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@Liam

"- wtf? so no insurance etc gets you sod all? for me hammer the uninsured. they are dangerous and will screw you up if you have a collision with them."

No, the important word here is "plus";

"'of aggravating factors', PLUS a maximum of two years"

So its two years ADDITIONAL time on top of the time you get for "death by careless driving charge".

I read it the same as you until I read it out to a colleague.

That aside I've never understood why the courts jail you for dangerous driving and ban you from driving a car while your inside. For example I've seen someone jailed for 5 years, and had a driving ban to run concurrently for 3 years. This was for killing two people. This meant while he was inside he couldn't drive (I know what you are thinking) and when he's let out, around the half sentence mark for good behaviour, the ban will have finished \ be finishing.

wtf is the point of that?!

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Anonymous Coward

@Potted driving

Anyone see '5th gear' where they tested a dope smokers driving when straight and stoned, and got identical results, except the smoker 'felt' like he was driving faster when stoned, so took more care?

@Lee 'My reactions are better!' Yea, drink drivers chant that mantra too.

@Martin (Smoking cigs when driving) Several years ago my Ex ran a dog over after the end fell off her cig into her lap. (Fortunately nothing worse than a broken leg, and she still cried a few times) She mounted the grass verge as it ran out of a gate.

If a smoker can't go that long without one, they have a problem that should discount them from driving anyway.

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Linux

@ AC

Why did you not put your name on the log?

I had this arguement with one of the knob jockeys at my old job who could not see how you could be charged with attempted murder by getting drunk and then driving. But he believed that someone taking a gun and shooting into a crowd was different. I believe they are the same thing.

As for mobile, until they put more cops on the roads instead of cameras it will not make any difference. I drive the M4 everyday to and from work and always see people on the motorway using thier mobile.

Then you have the stupid idea over here that people who steal cars while too young to drive get sentences like not allowed to get a license for a couple of years even though the sentence will expire before they come of age.

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I wasn't careless, officer

Just really, really high.

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Re: driving, smoking & lighting

If you can't find an open piece of road or traffic jam/lights to light up in (and muscle memory can't tell you where you're fags and lighter are) then you should just bloody wait. I can't remember the number of times I've not even remembered lighting up until I remember wanting a smoke and realising I've already got one.

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Anonymous Coward

Statistically

If you have had a few and get into an accident, because the body is more relaxed your chances of suffering physical harm is reduced.

So, when a person gets into an accident suffering physical harm when sober, they should be allowed to sue the socks off those who called for drink driving to be made illegal. Some people maybe here today had they been drunk at the time of the accident.

It is a funny old world, but you would have thought by now, we would have made cars that were super cheap, had built-in sensors to avoid collision, and were made primarily of foam. If that was in place, then I wouldn't be surprised if you had to have a few drinks or some relaxant to further reduce the chance of injury.

We can do a hell of a lot more than stopping drink driving to make the roads a safer place, but for some reason we seem to think that is the major cause, when in truth it is probably due more to bad luck, the fact a car is made of a material that can kill, and just lousy driving.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tough on stuff that loosely correlates to crime...

What about them dangerous dogs, why I sure hope they have some new law by tomorrow evenings news on dangerous dogs.... ;)

I saw on telly a poor woman who'd been attacked by a dangerous dog, the dogs owner, well, maybe if he had compulsary dog attack insurance or something that would fix it!

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Flame

@ all smoking posts & replies to me

When you smoke a fag upwards of 20 times per day, the whole lighting a fag thing becomes a matter of coordination rather than concentration.

I have tested this before, the last time I had an argument in the Real World with someone who reckoned that cigs and driving are dangerous. I demonstrated to them that without exception, I can go through the whole process of finding and lighting a fag without ONCE taking my eyes from the road, even for 1/1000 of a second. The trick is to keep one's cigs to hand (the door pocket works for me) and to have an easy to use, reliable lighter. People who use matches (or hand roll cigs, yes I've seen it!) while driving DO have something wrong.

Of course, anyone with an ounce of sense lights up whilst sat in traffic, or in a similar low-danger moment, rather than while traversing a busy roundabout for instance.

Similarly, one can let ash fall into one's lap rather than flicking the ash out of the window (or indeed the nub end into the ashtray) at a tricky moment. Most of the time (and at any time that it is necessary) both hands are on the wheel. As for dropping lit fags (the last time this happened to me was 7 years ago..) the sensible motorist realises that a fag burn in the carpet is considerably less serious than a wrecked car, and pulls to a safe stop by the roadside before retrieving the troublesome cig.

On the whole smoking a cig while driving takes about as much concentration or effort as scratching one's balls while driving.

/flame icon for users of dodgy lighters

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proof?

they need proof now?

one person in a car.. guilty obviously, thats how it works now innit?

you own a car you must be guilty unless you prove otherwise.

of course the standard of said proof will be very high, afterall we don't want people getting ideas about not pleading guilty do we...

sigh.

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Silver badge

One law to rule them all

As stated before, some politician trying to look like the're actually doing something. One law against careless driving, one law for carelessely firing a gun, one law for carelessely swinging an axe, maybe a law for carelessely dropping a nuclear warhead? When you get your license, you're told that your 1.5 tons pile of sharp metal is a death machine. If you use it carelessely, it's manslaughter (or even murder, I've heard that a guy purposedly ran over a nasty lazy pinko demonstrator a couple years ago). No need for a shiny new law, just have tribunals enforce existing ones.

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Pirate

Obvious, really

If you're involved in a car smash with a mobile, all you have to do is run back and wave a knife at the other guy.

Labour's already refused to jail people for that offence. Spare the knife and get a decade in prison... what a message to send.

I'd really like to think that this is sarcasm, but my imagination can't keep up with the current government.

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@Pierre

So... just to catch 'em all, we should make a new law about capital crimes for carelessly making new laws at the drop of a hat?

We might catch Mr. Brown-is-the-color-of-my-pants with his trousers down and send him to a place where pants might be optional!

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PT

String 'em up, it's the only thing these people understand

Clearly the UK government is soft on crime! Over here in the US, we know how to deal with people who have so-called "accidents", like this young woman who dozed off at the wheel and ran into some kids wandering around on a motorway -

http://www.courttv.com/trials/williams/background.html

What they don't tell you in the linked article is that the jury found her *not guilty* on all charges related to the actual accident, and her sentence (48 years) was based on her admission that she smoked a joint occasionally.

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hmmm

@ "When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?" - its an

interesting one this. i smoke. i have crashed my car due to the end falling off and almost

setting me alight! - this is why i dont smoke rolling tobacco any more - btw - no injuries as i

managed to hit my bosses car in the car park - doh!

but then again - lets ban women drivers as they cant not look you in the face whilst driving and

talking, lets ban the radio as you have to bend down to turn the station/volume, lets ban loud

music as you cant hear the sirens of the police etc, lets ban phones altogether as hands free

often means still pressing plenty of buttons to do shit... where do you end? remember the smokers

have been massively funding society for years - what is it now - 2000% tax on them?

on to cycling - can we see laws against these twats who dont know how to use the road

(undertaking, ignoring lights, swapping lanes willy-nilly)

@ "Regarding the potted driving I think the problems are (1) she drives slower. That is going to piss a lot of people off and possibly cause more accidents and (2) her reactions also will be slower, so although she may well be taking more initial care and reducing her speed somewhat she will not be as equipped to deal with surprises as a non druggy driver." - i fully agree mate - as i say i dont smoke or drink and drive as i know im impared... by drive slower i mean she doesnt speed everywhere! you know what 20 something women are like - little nigel mansells (without the tache!)

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Silver badge

A load of bollocks

Coming from everyone who is defending their abilities to smoke / drink / get hi, whilst driving. Check out the research, it is a FACT that the human brain can do two or sometimes more things at once BUT it just spreads out the available processing power and does them all less well. This is from scientific research over the the last two years. If you are more relaxed, you are not concentrating, if you are speeding, you have a shorter attention span and are still not concentrating. For the guy who said he concentrates more it should read `is trying harder´ because his abilities are impaired. Any thing you do that is in addition to the task in hand will compromise the initial task. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Just try being honest with your selves, and be empirical when assessing abilities, subjective opinions are meaningless and cloud the issue.

Before any one tells me to get off my high horse, I used to drive drunk, stoned and high at various times in the sixties and seventies, sometimes all three at once . It is something to be ashamed of not proud about, it's just luck that I never killed or hurt anyone including myself.

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Flame

@AC

"I agree that the councils are not that great at getting bike lanes installed everywhere but even when they ARE in place, hardly any cyclists use them"

There is a very good reason for this. Most bike lanes are crap.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/

Back on topic, here is how much difference this will make: 0. The CPS is notoriously reluctant to bring cases against motons which /may/ result in a custodial sentence. I don't see this changing any time soon.

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Pirate

Don't have a go at cyclists please

I'm a serious cyclist and, while I won't defend the type of cyclist I cannot stand; those who ride on the pavement and ignore traffic signs, i have been hit and badly injured by motorists TWICE whilst following the rules of the road and wearing Hi-Viz clothing!! Drivers treat all cyclists with contempt and I have had to use some pretty flash moves to avoid being injured more often......many drivers disregard other road users and this law cannot come soon enough for me.

For anyone who may challenge me so, I would also welcome Cycling Licenses on a compulsory basis and it'd stop us real cyclists getting such a bad reputation

back to topic, yes a car is a dangerous weapon and if it's misused, then the user should be appropriately punished....

using your mobile in the car has been illegal for ages now so there's no excuse

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Flame

@ Pretty much every rant

@Martin. Here Here! I use the cigarette lighter in my car to light my fags (See, it's not just for powering the satnav!) I can do it one handed, never need to take my eyes off the road and it takes less effort than changing gear (or scratching your balls, as Martin so eloquently put it).

@Stef. I think anyone who wants to cycle should be made to drive for a month, so they can see just how selfish and inconsiderate cyclists are. Slaloming in and out of traffic waiting at lights, scraping within inches of my paintwork when I give them several feet, pulling in front of cars at that bit where the cycle lane stratches over the whole lane at traffic lights, not to turn right, just because they can, ignoring traffic lights, riding side by side so no cars can get past them, I could go on.

@anti pot people. As has been mentioned, people smoking pot are three times LESS likely to have an accident than straight people. I will conceed that this is slightly akin to saying that, by driving at 25mph wherever they go makes old people 3 times less likely to have an accident, but winds up every other road user and makes them more likely to cause an accident, so it's still bad and a little bit stupid, but please try and get your facts straight before going on a rant, it makes it so much easier to get your point across

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Dead Vulture

@Bloomin' cyclists

Death by dangerous cycling gets a £2200+ fine, whereas overtaking a cyclist on a tractor with a trailer, giving insufficient room, and fatally sandpapering them against a wall gets an £800 fine and some points?? CTC is looking for clarification on dangerous driving ... it is set to include drivers that do NOT allow a cars width when overtaking , as per the rules of the road. ( you can see/avoid the danger, = difference between inconsiderate & dangerous driving).

Try telling me there is absolutely no bias.

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Anonymous Coward

A difficult problem (in the technical sense)

It is very hard to draw up fair laws to deal with accidents that are "caused" by factors like someone having drunk alcohol, smoked pot, using a phone, reaching for a mint, tuning the radio, trying to read road signs, being short of sleep, or just having a sexual fantasy.

Take the bloke who got a hefty prison sentence because he reached for a mint while driving alone on a motorway. While his attention was distracted (probably a second or two) he swerved, and eventually hit another vehicle and caused a crash in which deaths occurred. The court took the view that his inattention caused the crash, and the crash caused the deaths, so his attempt to get another mint caused the deaths. In short, manslaughter or whatever. But thousands of people do similar things every day without causing accidents (or not so obviously and undeniably) and they do not get punished at all - although what they did was exactly as culpable. No more and no less. Indeed, if the man in question had simply chosen not to mention the mint and his momentary distraction, he would almost certainly have got off without a prison sentence - perhaps without any punishment, or even blame, at all. He could simply have said "I dunno what happened - one moment I was driving along, then the car suddenly swerved..."

Or take alcohol. Once an issue reaches the public eye, and therefore the political limelight, there is an unfortunate tendency for it to blot out everything else - including common sense. A blanket ban on alcohol would be neither practicable nor reasonable. I recall an episode of "The Bill" in which inspector Gina has a few one night, drives to work the following day, is involved in an accident, and found to be driving under the influence. The factor that is always unmentioned in these discussions is "how long does it take alcohol to be completely metabolised" - because no one can say precisely. So a demand for "zero blood alcohol" means that, if you ever drink alcohol in any quantities, you must never drive a vehicle; and vice-versa. I don't think that would work, in a society where most of us (have to) drive, and most of us also like to have a few drinks.

Personally, I feel that while I prefer to be stone cold sober, I can manage a car safely after perhaps one pint of beer or a glass of wine. Two pints, a couple of glasses of wine, or any spirits, and I would call a taxi or whatever. This way, I think I stay within the law; but, more important, while my driving is certainly impaired, it is within acceptable limits.

How can I say any impairment is acceptable? Simply by comparison with other everyday impairments (some of them unavoidable), such as: having a cold, having had an argument, being angry with my boss, having had less than 8 hours of sleep every night for the last week, or even driving through a cloud of toxic fumes emitted by a bus or lorry. Or listening to the radio, or having two passengers conducting a conversation in the car while I'm driving. Or worrying about income tax, or my pension, or a leaking roof... Not to mention musing happily about some sexy film star, or thinking about my next holiday. Or, as has been demonstrated by experiment, being distracted by trying to make sense of a forest of road signs. The list is long.

Actually, I would like to see much more attention given to the role of sleep deprivation in causing accidents - and not only on the roads. Our culture actively conspires to deprive people of the sleep they need to be at their best, by forcing many of us to work 40-hours weeks (or longer), often with ever-lengthening commutes, and insidiously encouraging us to make the most of our leisure as well. Result: burning the candle at both ends. How many crashes are caused by drivers who never even realise they are falling asleep?

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Unhappy

mehh

hi, im not trying to be an idiot but im used to smoking pot, i dont drive too slow, i drive normally, i wouldnt get behind the wheel if i didnt trust myself - i thinnk drink driving is completely different, giving you false confidence , whereas with weed i have always been more cautious. i am not trying to enforce my opinion on others like some people posting, and im not saying everyone is the same as me, but i know myself and would never drive if i had drunk at all because i know it makes me worse, but im still seen as a pillock because i drive whist stoned. fair enough if some people smoke whilst driving, why not? its not exactly rocket science to do, just because some people have the brain capacity of a tea spoon doesnt mean others do........

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hmmm x3

in response to some of the above.

1) any decent smoker can light up a cig without taking their eyes off the road... plus i have an automatic. plus, its not like smokers light up whilst going round bends etc. all the ones i know do it when stuck in traffic or on a long strgight road.

"As for mobile, until they put more cops on the roads instead of cameras it will not make any difference. I drive the M4 everyday to and from work and always see people on the motorway using thier mobile." - phones are an odd one. for example, while driving on a motorway (i.e. big fucking long straight road) how dangerous REALLY is it to use a phone? for me to answer my phone i have to put hand in pocket (2 secs) then press a button and put to ear (1 sec) - not exactly super dangerous is it? never taking eyes off road. but like everything in this world a few stupid people take the piss and everyone is banned. ive seen plenty of people texting whilst doing 50 in a residential area - its these idiots that fuck us all up!

@ "Clearly the UK government is soft on crime! Over here in the US, we know how to deal with people who have so-called "accidents", like this young woman who dozed off at the wheel and ran into some kids wandering around on a motorway" - yes, that why in the US ive seen LOADS of highway videos of officers letting off drunken drivers as you dont use breath testers everywhere (anywhere?). i can pass one of your sobriety tests easily when over the limit. and i can also do that test for pot smokers when stoned and pass (the one where you move finger in/out in front of nose). i have actually seen US officers put blatantly pissed drivers back in their cars and tell them to go home!

@ "i have been hit and badly injured by motorists TWICE whilst following the rules of the road and wearing Hi-Viz clothing!! " - is one of these rules that cyclists think they can undertake and wonder why you alomost hit them? as a driver you DONT NEED TO LOOK IN YOUR LEFT WING MIRROR! you dont even need one, but almost all cyclists think undertaking is ok. when i was a kid on a cycle i had no idea how bad cyclists are for car drivers.

@ "For anyone who may challenge me so, I would also welcome Cycling Licenses on a compulsory basis and it'd stop us real cyclists getting such a bad reputation" - i did one at school when i was about 8 - by 9 we couldnt give a shit and did what we wanted - but those were the BMX halcion days and i knew people who used to jump moving cars etc!

yes - there is bias towards cars on the road - i wonder if thats because motorists pay for the roads and cyclists pay fuck all?

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