I was watching the news last night and they had a story about a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer who was killed in the line of duty yesterday. He had just returned to his car after issuing a citation to a motorist on the Route 50 approach to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. He was in his car, and presumably about to start it up and re-enter the traffic flow, when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck. He suffered “massive head injuries and internal trauma” in the crash, and died in hospital a few hours later.
What really pisses me off about this is that the person who caused the accident apparently has a history of driving infractions and should not even have been driving at the time of the crash. From the Washington Post:
I don’t have a zero-tolerance attitude to law enforcement. I believe that most people can be rehabilitated, and that rehabilitation is (or should be) as much a part of our criminal justice system as punishment.
But it seems to me that, with all the crimes we take so seriously, driving offences constitute one area where there is a perennial unwillingness to hold people responsible for their actions. We had a thread recently (can’t remember which one) where someone provided a link to a study showing that about 70-80% of drivers with suspended or revoked licenses continue to drive.
I just think we have to get serious about acknowledging that a license to control two tons of high-speed metal on public roads is a privilege, and that people who repeatedly show themselves to be a danger to ther road users do not deserve to have one. While the penalties for the initial instance/s of negligent driving may be sufficient (i really don’t know), i think the penalties for driving on a suspended or revoked license need to be strict enough to actually discourage the behavior.
I don’t know, maybe this will make no difference at all. I just get so frustrated knowing that people who are a menace to other road users, and who have already had their license suspended or revoked, continue to drive, and the only way they really get caught and punished is usually when some innocent motorist has paid with his or her life. It’s just too depressing.