Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oregonian: Deck Stacked for People in Cars

On the front page of the Oregonian today is a piece about the ways Oregon law offers weak protections to people on foot (and similarly on bike):
Sober drivers are rarely criminally prosecuted in fatal pedestrian crashes because under Oregon law striking a pedestrian is almost always just a traffic violation. Families of the dead may get little or nothing in civil court because the law also says that the pedestrian has a responsibility to cross safely...Prosecutors say that to find a driver guilty of a crime they must prove the driver was drunk or otherwise taking a big risk – talking on a cellphone, eating or driving while sleepy.
The article continues to observe that even being in a crosswalk isn't always protection for a person on foot.

Essentially, the law is set up to accept as an unavoidable cost a certain number of fatalities from using cars. But many of these crashes are not truly accidents and as such are preventable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

reThis observation is a no-brainer. As someone with a visual disability who cannot drive and bikes everywhere, I've often wondered about the fumes I'm forced to inhale. How different things would be if we favored less polluting means of transportation.