Ontario Traffic Incidents: No Significant Punishment Likely

This is a rant against a traffic accident system that favours the at fault party. Just close your eyes and let me set up the scene for you: a major east-west road with two lanes of traffic in each direction plus a shared left turn lane in the middle. Running south and ending at that major street is a little side street. There should be a light there and there isn’t, but that’s a whole other issue.

Ok, so we’re on that little side street and in the mid afternoon the main street is quite busy and if you’re wanting to turn left as I was, you have to resign yourself to a rather lengthy wait for a break in traffic. It’s not my first time taking this turn, so with a fatalistic sigh, I cruise to a stop, flip on my indicator light and swivel my head back and forth looking for that sweet spot. In less than a minute, a big black Dodge pulls up behind me, also signalling to go left. Let me say it again: He’s behind me, number two in the line to turn left. Another 10-15 seconds go by and he’s pulling up closer to my bumper. I know what this means, he’s impatient and any second now he’ll lay on the horn because he’s so important and honking will somehow magically open up the road for one or both of us. (Yes, that was heavy sarcasm.) But that’s not what happened at all. Oh no, this guy is a first class – well I’m not going to use that  kind of language here, but know that at the time I definitely made use of words that might have caused sailors to blush – anyway, the Dodge guns it, pulls out around me and…runs head on into the guy who was turning left from the main road onto the side street. I wish I could tell you this was the height of the stupidity exhibited by persons involved with this post. But it isn’t.

Dodge, aka the at fault party, alternately claimed he didn’t see the injured party turning or simply that he was “just turning left”. What about me though? I don’t drive a Smart car. I drive a very visible, SUV. So is he saying that he didn’t see me waiting to turn left ahead of him or that he didn’t care? Whatever his IQ level and his level of ignorance, he was 110% in the wrong. End of story. Those are the facts of this case and they are indisputable. (Yes, that was a little comic relief disguised as homage to A Few Good Men.)

While no one was injured, thankfully, this accident – I admit to using the word incorrectly since it was, strictly speaking, avoidable, so from here on in I’ll use incident – is still a tragedy. It’s a tragedy of justice because there won’t be any. I live in Canada, one of the greatest countries in the world usually I’m very proud of that, but today, not so much. Today I am not proud to be Canadian because today, justice is not likely to be found. The most likely outcome of the incident I witnessed today is one that will see a greater hardship fall on the injured party than the at fault party. Yes, you read that correctly. And it’s disturbing. Let me explain. The injured party is now without a vehicle and unable to get to his job. As a result of this incident, his insurance will go up (thanks to Ontario’s no fault insurance – a really stupid idea) and he will have to replace his totalled car. Given the work garb he was wearing and his age (under 25) it’s not likely he has the means to go out and lease a new vehicle tomorrow. On the other hand, the at fault party will need to replace the bumper of his Dodge and he will also have increased insurance premiums. That’s it. That’s the most likely outcome. Now for a simple question: In this case, does the punishment fit the crime? Anyone with a brain should now be screaming NO!

What deterrent is there in a raised insurance premium? What punishment is there in it when the injured party is also facing the same punishment? What is the likelihood of the at fault party becoming a repeat offender because the consequences were not severe enough to make him think twice?

If the incident had taken place with only slightly different variables, there could have been injuries or even fatalities. Less than two minutes after the Dodge totalled the injured party’s car, school children were crossing that very street. Do you think the Dodge who intimated he couldn’t see my SUV in front of him (or the car turning left into the lane he illegally entered) would have seen a child? Do you think that the next time the Dodge is faced with a similar situation he’ll be more careful or will he do the same thing he did today? Can you afford to take that risk? Don’t you think punishment should fit the crime? That it should be a deterrent to repeating illegal or unsafe behaviour? Talk to your local politicians. Get your opinions out there. Get your voice heard.

 

And that’s my politically-minded 2¢ for today.

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~ by leslies2cents on February 2, 2012.

3 Responses to “Ontario Traffic Incidents: No Significant Punishment Likely”

  1. Kiefer Sutherland
    Okay, and so I was merely probing your website when I found a new message from Florence – and believed that I just had to reply, I mean how can I allow that to drop?

  2. This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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