Saturday, August 24, 2019

Worse than Killer Hay Bales

I keep thinking about this recent article from the Star Tribune:

The gist of the story is that a motorcyclist died because he hit a hay bale that had fallen off a trailer ahead of him. The driver of the pickup truck pulling the trailer may be charged with something. In a similar case a few years ago, a semi driver who lost one hay bale killed a couple who were going the other way. He pleaded guilty to careless driving, served a year of probation, and paid a fine.

I keep thinking about drivers who hit pedestrians and are never charged with anything, not even with reckless driving. Clearly, the drivers didn't intend to hit the pedestrians, but these hay-haulers didn't intend for their hay bales to go flying off either. They were less careful than they needed to be with their hay bales, and the drivers who hit and kill pedestrians are less careful than they needed to be with their two-ton metal machines.

Why, we even have training and testing requirements for driving our two-ton metal machines, so it seems we could expect even more from drivers than hay-bale-tiers, since we don't have any requirements for being allowed to tie hay bales to your machine. But killer hay-bales are a man-bites-dog story, while killer cars and trucks are accepted as part of modern life.

If all of us drivers knew we would be charged with at least reckless driving if not manslaughter if we hit a pedestrian, we would drive a lot more carefully and probably more slowly, too. I would vote for a law like that. The most powerful road users are ethically the most responsibility, and they should also be the most responsible legally.

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