People present are an environmental condition: Slow down!
A few mornings ago, during the normal coffee & perusal of the news, two separate news items inspired the above tweet. The specific news incidents aren’t as important as the pattern of passivity by law enforcement across the state of Michigan.
I don’t seek out these news reports (9&10). Actually, readers send the gory stories my way figuring I’m a sucker for them–true. The pattern emerging from these reports is that when a person walking is seriously maimed or killed by a driver who “didn’t see them“(REagle), was “blinded by the sun“, was where “the streetlights weren’t working” (Fox), or simply “couldn’t stop in time“(RE) the norm seems to be not to issue a citation.
The slightest fender bender typically involves one-person or another getting a citation, but when a woman crossing the street with an 18-month old gets hit and her daughter dies, the police simply shrug their shoulders and let the person who hit them go (Freep). Some police reports even suggest blame on the person on foot for activities like listening to music (Tuscola).
It is not just with people on foot where the callousness is on display. Just over a year ago, James Sawicki was stuck and killed while riding his bicycle (Fox) on the shoulder of a Sterling Heights road. A driver with a record reached for something on the floor as she approached him. She then veered off the road, slamming into him and he died…she walked clean without charges. The Sterling Heights police lieutenant’s response,”there was a brand new sidewalk just installed about 15 feet from where he was riding.” (T-MI)
I get it. We don’t have strict liability (MyWHaT) in this state. As well, each case is unique and news reports often don’t tell the entire story. Typically, what we end up reading is only as good as the police reports, which themselves are often written with little understanding of the pedestrian’s perspective.
Still, it is difficult to believe that people are throwing themselves willy-nilly in front of speeding cars. More likely, people are driving too fast in places where they need to expect pedestrians and to expect the unexpected. Driving where people are present is like driving on ice, in a snowstorm or heavy fog–the conditions demand that we take extra caution.
Michigan’s “What Every Driver Must Know” (MI.Gov-PDF) emphasizes extra care around pedestrians.
Officers, claiming they have no legal means to cite someone ignore the law on their side:
Driving too fast for conditions.
What’s your take?
Are you offended by news/police reports of people being maimed or killed with no citations being issued?
Thank you for slowing down when pedestrians are present.
NOTE: This mini-rant was originally posted February 13, 2012 and reposted again on December 11 because of the recent death in Green Lake Township (RE). Again, person on foot hit by car and no fault for the person driving a 2-ton steel pod. The perspective isn’t just a Michigan thing, this week Toronto had
9 7 pedestrians hit within 45 minutes (UC). The response by officials, “one of the common things we’ve been hearing from drivers is, ‘We didn’t see them.'”
* The title was changed from “pedestrians present” to “people present…”
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