Michael Devon Alston was driving carelessly on November 29th, 2012 when he made a right turn in broad daylight off 18th street onto Chambers and killed pedestrian Tamara Kay Glenn. Alston’s only penalty after pleading guilty to careless driving that lead to the death of Tamara is paying a $1,000 fine. This is the same proposed fine that you get for talking on a cell phone while driving, stripping in an airport, having a loud party on campus, or littering.
That’s right, driving carelessly and killing someone with your car is the same at littering in Eugene. This is car culture at it worst. How can we pretend to be a bike and pedestrian friendly town and let this slide?
This sentence is a result of the typical “oh, it could happen to me!” attitude of other car drivers (like the judge). Well you’re right, IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, which is why when you drive a car you should drive with FEAR in your heart that you may kill someone. Treat cars like loaded guns. They are not safe in any way. Every time you drive you put the lives of everyone around you in danger, but rarely your own. We need to change that. Screw up driving, and YOU GO TO JAIL, not pay a $1,000 fine. Then everyone will drive better, or maybe even choose to drive less in the first place.
I’m tired of people outside of cars (bikers, pedestrians) being the only ones with skin in the game. We risk our lives existing around cars, but all car drivers risk is a few dollars? They are the drone pilots of the transportation world: free to kill, but with no risk themselves. If we don’t increase the risk to them, we aren’t going to see better drivers and people won’t stop dying.
Maybe we should get rid of airbags and put a 2-foot long spike in the center of every steering wheel. I bet we see some careful driving then! (Idea blatantly stolen from an Andy Singer cartoon that I can’t find online)