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    Infuriating

    Once again, vehicular homicide is reduced to a traffic violation and a slap on the wrist.

    https://www.bicycling.com/news/a3060...ign=nl19163056

    Before someone chimes in saying the families of the deceased can sue for wrongful death, remember you can't draw blood from a stone. Unless the perpetrator is that statistically rare "millionaire next door" who lives a frugal lifestyle but has loads of assets hidden away, the families won't get any real justice even if they pursue it civilly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    Once again, vehicular homicide is reduced to a traffic violation and a slap on the wrist.

    https://www.bicycling.com/news/a3060...ign=nl19163056

    Before someone chimes in saying the families of the deceased can sue for wrongful death, remember you can't draw blood from a stone. Unless the perpetrator is that statistically rare "millionaire next door" who lives a frugal lifestyle but has loads of assets hidden away, the families won't get any real justice even if they pursue it civilly.
    I'm going to disagree here to an extent. Different states have slightly varying laws about negligent homicide, but generally the level of negligence has to be pretty extreme. This particular case sounds a bit ambiguous, as the evidence wasn't clear what caused her distraction. We like to think we are all perfect drivers with eyes always on the road and hands at 9 and 3, but the truth is even the best of us has looked down to change the radio or glance at our phones at least sometime in our driving careers.

    The truth of the matter is that there will always be inattentive people, and simply locking them away when the worst happens won't change that. Nor will locking the inattentive person away bring loved ones back or heal serious injuries.

    Where I do get outraged is when they decline to press charges for vehicular homicide for cases involving road rage against bicycles, or when the driver clearly intended to make contact with the rider(s). Those cases have happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I'm going to disagree here to an extent. Different states have slightly varying laws about negligent homicide, but generally the level of negligence has to be pretty extreme.
    Cars kill 40,000 Americans every year while injuring approximately 3 million more. We are far too lax with those who operate giant metal cages on public roads. Driving a motor vehicle automatically commands a higher level of responsibility.


    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    This particular case sounds a bit ambiguous, as the evidence wasn't clear what caused her distraction. We like to think we are all perfect drivers with eyes always on the road and hands at 9 and 3, but the truth is even the best of us has looked down to change the radio or glance at our phones at least sometime in our driving careers.
    From the article:
    "According to the Sun-Sentinel, Vanderweit was speeding, traveling more than 65 mph in a 55 mph area when she looked down “for a second,” then felt an impact. Although a crash expert told prosecutors that Vanderweit should have been able to see the bicyclists almost 10 seconds in advance of a crash, she didn’t begin to brake until between 1.1 and 2.5 seconds before the fatal collision."

    She was already speeding well over the limit, and her eyes were off the road for at least 7.5 seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    The truth of the matter is that there will always be inattentive people, and simply locking them away when the worst happens won't change that. Nor will locking the inattentive person away bring loved ones back or heal serious injuries.
    But instead of keeping her off the roads for multiple years, she will only be prohibited (legally not physically) from driving for six months. That doesn't keep anyone safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    Cars kill 40,000 Americans every year while injuring approximately 3 million more. We are far too lax with those who operate giant metal cages on public roads. Driving a motor vehicle automatically commands a higher level of responsibility.




    From the article:
    "According to the Sun-Sentinel, Vanderweit was speeding, traveling more than 65 mph in a 55 mph area when she looked down “for a second,” then felt an impact. Although a crash expert told prosecutors that Vanderweit should have been able to see the bicyclists almost 10 seconds in advance of a crash, she didn’t begin to brake until between 1.1 and 2.5 seconds before the fatal collision."

    She was already speeding well over the limit, and her eyes were off the road for at least 7.5 seconds.



    But instead of keeping her off the roads for multiple years, she will only be prohibited (legally not physically) from driving for six months. That doesn't keep anyone safe.
    I read all that. 65 in 55 isn't particularly egregious (that's about average speed of traffic in most 55 zones around here). Whether she had her eyes off the road for 7.5 seconds or a second is sort of hard to tell. The main point is I don't see any evidence she intended to hurt anybody or intentionally did something she knew in advance might result in a fatality. Had she been driving 100+ on the same road, I would feel differently. Sometimes people make honest mistakes with fatal consequences. This article and video is a pretty good example of how even when you are trying to pay attention you can miss things that should be obvious.

    https://www.braingymmer.com/en/blog/...attention-eng/

    I recognize that automobile safety is a big issue, but I just hate the knee jerk reliance on the criminal justice system to fix problems like this. Things like driver training, stricter licensing requirements, better road design are much lower hanging fruit if your goal is to reduce fatal accidents. And again, if she had acted with malice toward the cyclists, I'd be all for throwing the book at her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I read all that. 65 in 55 isn't particularly egregious (that's about average speed of traffic in most 55 zones around here). Whether she had her eyes off the road for 7.5 seconds or a second is sort of hard to tell. The main point is I don't see any evidence she intended to hurt anybody or intentionally did something she knew in advance might result in a fatality. Had she been driving 100+ on the same road, I would feel differently. Sometimes people make honest mistakes with fatal consequences. This article and video is a pretty good example of how even when you are trying to pay attention you can miss things that should be obvious.

    https://www.braingymmer.com/en/blog/...attention-eng/

    I recognize that automobile safety is a big issue, but I just hate the knee jerk reliance on the criminal justice system to fix problems like this. Things like driver training, stricter licensing requirements, better road design are much lower hanging fruit if your goal is to reduce fatal accidents. And again, if she had acted with malice toward the cyclists, I'd be all for throwing the book at her.
    I agree. Throwing this woman in jail for the rest of her life isn't going to make the world a safer place. And no, I don't think it will be a deterrent to prevent others from driving distracted. The article I read indicated she stayed at the scene, provided CPR and seemed remorseful. Other than vengeance, what is the value of locking her up forever. Unless you are someone that has lived an error free life, most of us have made driving errors at one time or another. Usually nothing bad happens but sometimes it does

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    She should be sentenced to 10 hours a day of changing frayed shimano cables and chasing internally routed cables with magnets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    She should be sentenced to 10 hours a day of changing frayed shimano cables and chasing internally routed cables with magnets.
    That might be struck down as cruel and unusual punishment

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    As I always think in these situations, what other license do you get at age 16, after a few hours of training, and you get to keep it for life? Driving tests in the U.S. are a joke. As is enforcement. Why aren't there far, far more traffic enforcement police? I'd like to see an entire squad of officers just going after illegal motorists 24-7 and giving them hefty fines. Also, I can't figure out why traffic cameras aren't in use everywhere. Costs of cameras is low and is a GREAT way to enforce and an easy way to make money for the city/town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nayr497 View Post
    As I always think in these situations, what other license do you get at age 16, after a few hours of training, and you get to keep it for life? Driving tests in the U.S. are a joke. As is enforcement. Why aren't there far, far more traffic enforcement police? I'd like to see an entire squad of officers just going after illegal motorists 24-7 and giving them hefty fines. Also, I can't figure out why traffic cameras aren't in use everywhere. Costs of cameras is low and is a GREAT way to enforce and an easy way to make money for the city/town.
    Maybe this is more for PO, but I am not comfortable with a squad of police whose sole mission is to make money for the city/state. Seems ripe for abuse. Here in NJ we had red light cameras locally for a while. The verdict: they increased accidents. That is from folks slamming on the brakes or speeding up to avoid a ticker at red lights. As for cell phone I think technology could help here. Phoned that deactivate certain functions when driving. Apps that shut down the phone when driving etc. I see smartphones while driving as the biggest threat to cyclists. Far worse than drunk driving mainly because the percentage of folks using their phones is so high

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    penalties should be loss of license forever...
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  11. #11
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    An "accident" should be something that happens through no fault of your own. If you do not maintain control of your vehicle, if you are negligent by taking your eyes off the road for an extended period of time, if you choose to drive above the posted speed limit... and kill someone... intent to me is irrelevant. It should never be referred to as an "accident". It should be considered negligent homicide. Just my opinion, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    An "accident" should be something that happens through no fault of your own. If you do not maintain control of your vehicle, if you are negligent by taking your eyes off the road for an extended period of time, if you choose to drive above the posted speed limit... and kill someone... intent to me is irrelevant. It should never be referred to as an "accident". It should be considered negligent homicide. Just my opinion, though.
    No, it's a fact. What should happen for punishment is opinion but not seeing 15 cyclist because you looked at your phone ain't no 'accident' no matter how you slice it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    The main point is I don't see any evidence she intended to hurt anybody or intentionally did something she knew in advance might result in a fatality. Had she been driving 100+ on the same road, I would feel differently.
    Why would you feel differently about driving 100? What evidence would there be of the person driving 100 intending to hurt someone?

    I can't make any sense out of what you are saying really. Do you think driving 100 is intent but 65 not looking at the road isn't? Just because one is more common I don't really see it as any safer or more or less intent. It's probably a given she didn't intend to kill cyclists. Just like it would be for the person who does because they are going 100. Driving 100 is illegal and stupid just like looking at a phone at 65 is.

    What about loading up on angel dust trying my luck going against traffic for the fun of it. Cool as long as I'm not intending to hurt anyone? Just because not looking at the road is so common with phones I don't see it being any better or more or less intent then several other scenarios that just about everyone wouldn't give free pass for.

    The "everybody does it" or "I've done it" criteria for letting it go doesn't fly with me. What's dangerous is what's dangerous regardless of how common. And if lack of intent is the only criteria be prepared to give a free ride to drunk/drugged drivers, people going 100 or just about anything because those nuts are not intending to hurt anyone either (usually).

    I can't see the link you posted due to firewall. But I'm fairly confident it would not make me understand how not seeing a group of 15 cyclist is an 'honest mistake".
    Last edited by Jay Strongbow; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:37 PM.

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    I read it all, and sure can see both sides. I for one, don't see the value of throwing someone in prison for x amount of time. But at the same time, I have to ask myself would the sentencing have been different if we substituted 15 first grade children instead of 15 cyclists?
    Would the driver gone to prison then? would the outcry be ever so louder? What is sad is that we base sentencing on the victims and not necessarily the act. The US as in many other countries is car-centric. Time and time again, the car and the driver consistently get a pass, the oh well it happens philosophy. Unless that is dealt with, this will continue and the results will be the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DinoMoss View Post
    I read it all, and sure can see both sides. I for one, don't see the value of throwing someone in prison for x amount of time. But at the same time, I have to ask myself would the sentencing have been different if we substituted 15 first grade children instead of 15 cyclists?
    Would the driver gone to prison then? would the outcry be ever so louder? What is sad is that we base sentencing on the victims and not necessarily the act. The US as in many other countries is car-centric. Time and time again, the car and the driver consistently get a pass, the oh well it happens philosophy. Unless that is dealt with, this will continue and the results will be the same.
    Maybe sending her to prison makes the next motorist do a better job of keeping their eyes on the road. Maybe it doesn't. But what does a slap on the wrist say to the next motorist? To cyclists?

    I agree that it's an inherent bias. Most folks assume the roads "belong" to motor vehicles so a cyclist or a pedestrian are somehow encroaching.
    Last edited by Opus51569; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I read all that. 65 in 55 isn't particularly egregious (that's about average speed of traffic in most 55 zones around here). Whether she had her eyes off the road for 7.5 seconds or a second is sort of hard to tell.
    65 in a 55 is 18% over the limit. You get thrown in jail if your BAC is 8% over the legal maximum. In the article I linked the crash expert said the motorist should have seen the cyclists 10 seconds before the crash, which was based off her 65mph speed. Had she been doing the limit, she would've had almost two additional seconds to react and/or slow down. Two seconds is a lot in a car.

    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    The main point is I don't see any evidence she intended to hurt anybody or intentionally did something she knew in advance might result in a fatality. Had she been driving 100+ on the same road, I would feel differently. Sometimes people make honest mistakes with fatal consequences.
    If you accidentally discharge a firearm in a neighborhood, the cops or judge don't really care how good your intentions were. In the United States cars still kill more people than guns do, which is really saying something given our gun culture. When you're handling an object which is known to easily cause injury or death if used improperly, intent loses a lot of relevance. No sane person should axiomatically accept it's fine to maim or kill someone with a car just because the driver didn't intend the result.

    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    This article and video is a pretty good example of how even when you are trying to pay attention you can miss things that should be obvious.

    https://www.braingymmer.com/en/blog/...attention-eng/

    I've seen that video before, and it's not a great comparison because the cyclist pack was directly in front of the motorist and within her vision's focal cone. They weren't some animated Cracker Barrel billboard off on her peripherals.

    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I recognize that automobile safety is a big issue, but I just hate the knee jerk reliance on the criminal justice system to fix problems like this. Things like driver training, stricter licensing requirements, better road design are much lower hanging fruit if your goal is to reduce fatal accidents. And again, if she had acted with malice toward the cyclists, I'd be all for throwing the book at her.
    Except it isn't knee jerk. This is another among the huge laundry list of examples where motorists do not get sufficiently penalized for negligent behavior.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Why would you feel differently about driving 100? What evidence would there be of the person driving 100 intending to hurt someone?

    I can't make any sense out of what you are saying really. Do you think driving 100 is intent but 65 not looking at the road isn't? Just because one is more common I don't really see it as any safer or more or less intent. It's probably a given she didn't intend to kill cyclists. Just like it would be for the person who does because they are going 100. Driving 100 is illegal and stupid just like looking at a phone at 65 is.

    What about loading up on angel dust trying my luck going against traffic for the fun of it. Cool as long as I'm not intending to hurt anyone? Just because not looking at the road is so common with phones I don't see it being any better or more or less intent then several other scenarios that just about everyone wouldn't give free pass for.

    The "everybody does it" or "I've done it" criteria for letting it go doesn't fly with me. What's dangerous is what's dangerous regardless of how common. And if lack of intent is the only criteria be prepared to give a free ride to drunk/drugged drivers, people going 100 or just about anything because those nuts are not intending to hurt anyone either (usually).

    I can't see the link you posted due to firewall. But I'm fairly confident it would not make me understand how not seeing a group of 15 cyclist is an 'honest mistake".
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    65 in a 55 is 18% over the limit. You get thrown in jail if your BAC is 8% over the legal maximum.
    I do not think comparing percentages of speed to percentages of BAC is valid. The two things have very different impacts on the driver. Maybe RBR drivers all play by the rules but when I am out driving to work every day there are lots of folks doing 65 in a 55 zone; it's often the majority of drivers. I am not justifying that but there is a good chance that if not you, your spouse, your kids, other relatives and good friends have speeded at some point. Would you just toss them in jail too? We'd need to build a lot of jails. I agree that not seeing 15 cyclists means she was very distracted. I probably would advocated for a harsher sentence than what she got but I'm not ready to put her to death either

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    Wow, this thread brings out the inner martinet in people. Here in upstate NY, driving 65 in a 55 zone will mean you get passed by EVERYBODY, and are likely making yourself a target for being rear-ended. Hell, I average about 75 mph every morning on my commute, and I'd say that I was only cracking the fastest 33 percentile at that speed!

    Driver training and licensing could be part of the problem. As an example, while I once drove large trucks interstate and internationally for a living, I haven't driven a commercial truck for nearly 20 years. My health has declined, I'm on dialysis, but I still have my CDL, and am fully legal to drive a loaded 18-wheeler should I decide to. My dad got to the point where he couldn't even remember where he was driving to before I physically took his car away from him, and he still had a valid license even when he could no longer remember my name.

    But, in all likelyhood, this was a case of distracted, pure and simple. As a result, manslaughter would be the charge, perhaps aggravated manslaughter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    I read all that. 65 in 55 isn't particularly egregious (that's about average speed of traffic in most 55 zones around here).
    in this case the <~20% speed and ~40% extra kinetic energy seems to have been the difference between some broken bikes and road rash on one side and the current situation on the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Wow, this thread brings out the inner martinet in people. Here in upstate NY, driving 65 in a 55 zone will mean you get passed by EVERYBODY, and are likely making yourself a target for being rear-ended. Hell, I average about 75 mph every morning on my commute, and I'd say that I was only cracking the fastest 33 percentile at that speed!
    Wonderful.

    Do you seriously not get difference between driving 10 MPH over the speed limit and driving 10 MPH over the speed limit while looking at your phone and hitting a group of 15 cyclists killing three of them?

    You seriously think this is a thread about and the OP's subsequent comment about the speed limit was 'just' about going 10 MPH over the speed limit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I agree. Throwing this woman in jail for the rest of her life isn't going to make the world a safer place.
    who suggested that in this thread?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Why would you feel differently about driving 100? What evidence would there be of the person driving 100 intending to hurt someone?

    I can't make any sense out of what you are saying really. Do you think driving 100 is intent but 65 not looking at the road isn't? Just because one is more common I don't really see it as any safer or more or less intent. It's probably a given she didn't intend to kill cyclists. Just like it would be for the person who does because they are going 100. Driving 100 is illegal and stupid just like looking at a phone at 65 is.

    What about loading up on angel dust trying my luck going against traffic for the fun of it. Cool as long as I'm not intending to hurt anyone? Just because not looking at the road is so common with phones I don't see it being any better or more or less intent then several other scenarios that just about everyone wouldn't give free pass for.

    The "everybody does it" or "I've done it" criteria for letting it go doesn't fly with me. What's dangerous is what's dangerous regardless of how common. And if lack of intent is the only criteria be prepared to give a free ride to drunk/drugged drivers, people going 100 or just about anything because those nuts are not intending to hurt anyone either (usually).

    I can't see the link you posted due to firewall. But I'm fairly confident it would not make me understand how not seeing a group of 15 cyclist is an 'honest mistake".
    There are no bright lines here, but 100 miles an hour is so far above the posted speed limit that it would be difficult to have done it by accident. You can accelerate from 50 to 60 without even noticing. With the exceptions of interstates or the Autobahn, which are designed to have very long sight lines, it's also well above the speed in which you could reasonably respond to something up ahead. Many states will put you in jail and impound your car for 100.

    Various state laws (and the general common law going back to industrial revolution era England) distinguish between ordinary negligence for which a person might be civilly liable and criminal negligence. Something like being on a serious mind altering drug (lots of alcohol, PCP, etc.) or speeding to the point of recklessness pushes the conduct into criminal. There's no exact standard, but the behavior outlined in the article doesn't sound like criminal negligence to me.

    The posted link discusses how the brain develops tunnel vision when it is looking for one specific thing. It includes a video of some basket ball players passing a basketball back and forth and asks you to count the number of passes. If you are concentrating on the passes (and I know I was when I first saw the video), you literally DO NOT SEE a guy dressed up as a bear dancing around in the center of the shot. Similarly, when drivers are just looking out for cars, they may literally not see a cyclist- brain doesn't even register the visual input because it's not what the driver is looking out for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    But, in all likelyhood, this was a case of distracted, pure and simple. As a result, manslaughter would be the charge, perhaps aggravated manslaughter.
    Manslaughter requires intent to harm (first degree in NY) or recklessness (second degree. Minor speeding or ordinary distraction likely does not meet the definition of "reckless" in most cases. In NY, there's also a specific definition of vehicular manslaughter, which mostly covers drunk or otherwise chemically impaired drivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Wonderful.

    Do you seriously not get difference between driving 10 MPH over the speed limit and driving 10 MPH over the speed limit while looking at your phone and hitting a group of 15 cyclists killing three of them?

    You seriously think this is a thread about and the OP's subsequent comment about the speed limit was 'just' about going 10 MPH over the speed limit?
    Obviously this was a tragedy that was far, far, worse than simply speeding with no consequences. But nobody is saying that hitting cyclists is no big deal. The argument is simply that the criminal justice system is poorly equipped to stop these sorts of things from happening and that the small amount of speeding, by itself, is unlikely to be the proximate cause of the accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nealric View Post
    ... The posted link discusses how the brain develops tunnel vision when it is looking for one specific thing. It includes a video of some basket ball players passing a basketball back and forth and asks you to count the number of passes. If you are concentrating on the passes (and I know I was when I first saw the video), you literally DO NOT SEE a guy dressed up as a bear dancing around in the center of the shot. Similarly, when drivers are just looking out for cars, they may literally not see a cyclist- brain doesn't even register the visual input because it's not what the driver is looking out for.
    I've nearly been wrecked while riding my motorcycle by people pulling out from side streets as though I'm invisible, even though I'm on a fairly large, fairly loud motorcycle with a big round headlight turned on.

    In some cases, I've seen the drivers looking directly at me, making what I thought was direct eye contact acknowledging my presence... only to have them pull out causing me to slam on the brakes and hope I don't lay down the bike, or take evasive action like swerving around the back end of their car and hoping I don't bang into the curb on the other side of the side street.

    Often, many drivers see what they're looking for or nothing at all, instead of what's actually there, like me on my MC.

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