James Miller


Thursday, February 03, 2005


Death By Careless Driving

This is a hard one to sort out.

Take what happened to me.

I was driving down a narrow suburban street with a row of parked cars on the right at about 20 mph, when I saw a black shape crawl and start to dash into the road from between the cars. Thinking it was a cat, or perhaps even a child, I swerved and just mounted the kerb on the left. There was a mother and child there and they'd seen the shape and she had pulled the child in, so I didn't come within ten feet of anything.

I stopped and wound down the window to check everything was alright. They both smiled and said yes. We all laughed as we saw that the black shape was not a cat, but a black plastic bag.

So no problem.


I was going slow enough, that even if I had hit the child, I probably would not have killed her. The visibility was very good and the mother and child were watching the traffic, so they saw the danger. etc. etc.

But what if they hadn't be paying attention, I'd hit a cat, swerved more, it had been raining heavily etc.

Would I have been able to stand up to a charge of death by careless driving? I'd have probably been found guilty as it was a child.

Now, most of the cases that are talked about in the papers are more than just a death. Often there is no insurance, no licence or the guy is disqualified.

Why not start with checking on drivers more often so that they don't commit the major offence? They don't because it would need more traffic police.


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