A car can be a weapon, and when used to kill, the driver gets a break.
Recently in Toronto, a young skateboarder was run down and killed when a taxi driver intentionally smashed his taxi into him. The driver was sentenced to four years. The sentence has been criticized by some as too stiff, and the lawyer for the taxi driver is appealing the penalty.
Here’s the video. Watch as the cab turns into the skateboarder to run him over.
When asked to comment on this by a MetroNews Reporter, I have come to realize that whenever a car is the weapon of choice, our system cuts the driver a break. Thankfully, Toronto has journalists who are not only focusing on the issue, but on the life that has been lost.
A car is a weapon. It is a two ton weapon that can maim, crush and kill with a turn of a wheel. It is not meant to do this, but let’s not forget it is one of the leading causes of injury and death on our streets and it is doing this on too frequent of a basis. Our legal system has granted the car special status; it is one of leniency given to the offender.
In this specific incident, the taxi driver intentionally used their vehicle as a weapon and smashed into a person, who was killed. If he had chosen a gun, the results would be different and the sentence much longer. If the taxi driver had stopped and hit him over the head with a tire iron, we would all be appalled and outraged that he only got four years, but because he used his car, he gets a break in our system.
This special systemic leniency is applied from top to bottom. In this case, intentionally using your vehicle and killing someone gets you four years. However, if you carelessly use your car and kill someone, you most likely drive away with a ticket and a small fine; you don’t even have to go to court! Hell, you don’t even get your license suspended or have to take driving courses, that’s if you even get a ticket in the first place! If someone had carelessly fired off their registered rifle while cleaning it and someone gets killed, do you think our laws let them keep their gun? Their gun license? Get a ticket and pay a fine? They don’t! And they certainly don’t get to go home with their rifle and read up on gun safety.
Unfortunately, the system has christened the car to be the “weapon of choice.” No wonder many people who have watched the statistics say “you want to kill someone and get away with it? Use a car.”
I have been suing drivers who needlessly endanger the lives of cyclists and pedestrians on a regular basis for 20 years. My clients are disabled for life and some killed. The drivers pay their fines, their insurance pays compensation to the survivor and that’s it. No wonder we have an increase in pedestrian and cycling injuries. The scratch on the car costs you more than the life that was taken.
We need new laws that protect vulnerable road users. The present system unfortunately does not.
Bike Law Canada and a coalition of civic-minded groups have demanded the Minister of Transportation and the Attorney General establish new laws to squash a systemic lenience and protect vulnerable road users.
A license to drive a car is a privilege that is to be suspended and permanently revoked if misused. Let’s stop treating it like it is an enshrined right. It’s not.