Thought provoking Driving Thread

davidjpowell

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I've just been reading (for the last 2 hours) a thread on Pistonheads, where a driver who lost control on a bend explained the reasons and the consequences of being jailed. It is one of the most thought provoking threads I have ever seen, and has made me examine my own driving. I would sugest it is well worth a glance - the main part starts 5 posts down.

http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=141&t=442266&i=40

David
 

Swiss Toni

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All credit to the guy, very well written and very thought provoking.

It starts like this...

10 Pence Short (on PH) said:
I caused an accident after losing control of my car. It was sideways straddling both sides of a B road, a motorcyclist coming the other way came around a blind bend to be confronted with a car blocking the road. The impact launched him over my (destroyed) car and dumped him on the middle of the road, unconcious. His bike had been thrown some 14 metres back the way it came. My car dangled precariously over the edge of a drop past the verge.

After about a minute or so of getting my breath back following the airbag deploying, I realised I'd caused a very serious accident. I'd seen the motorcyclist only for a split second before the impact imploded against the B piller behind my head and shattered every window on the car. My sunglasses had disappeared from my face, glass from the door window was mingled with blood dripping from my face.

There was no way of opening the drivers door, I clambered over the passenger seat and observed one of the worst sights of my life.

For about 50 metres down the direction I'd come from, were the tell tale black lines of a skidding car. These were only interrupted by gouge marks on the road surface where car had met bike. In the middle of this lay the biker, motionless, unconscious, a mess. Onlookers, other motorists, were out of their cars but nothing more than background fuzz.

By the time I got out of the car, some other bikers had begun trying to help the badly injured guy laying on the centreline of the road. For a long minute, he didn't move, he didn't seem to breath. I'd just killed a man. Then some movement, some spluttering. Blind panic from someone who's just woken up to wish that he hadn't. His girlfriend, who had been a few minutes further behind on her own bike, arrived. Screaming and wailing, wondering how this has come to happen. No doubt a million thoughts all arriving at once. Most of them fearing the worst.

First aiders helped on the scene, I didn't know how to help medically. I was guilty, impotent and wondering how I'd gone from an enthusiastic drive to a potential killer in the space of 50 metres. It only took 3 or 4 minutes for the Police to arrive, I volunteered myself immediately as the guilty party. I was breath tested and questioned on-scene, sat in a Volvo, bleeding on the back seats whilst in full view of the prone motorcyclist, by this time being worked on by the paramedics who'd arrived, hoping the patient could last long enough for the air ambulance to arrive.

I'll never forget that poor man, lying there screaming for his helmet to be taken off, his girlfriend in tears and despair and me, not badly injured, no reason to have caused this, other than wanting to enjoy the road.

The motorcyclist spent days in intensive care, being treated for most of his right arm being smashed to pieces, his collarbone wrecked, serious head injuries, damaged eye socket, chipped bones on his ankle and a massive nerve injury. A year later and even after a number of operations, he still has many to go to correct his broken body and his impaired eyesight. The nerve damage to his dominant right arm means he'll never regain full use of it. He can no longer support his children by working on the rigs as he did beforehand.



My car was impounded by the Police and kept from the day of the accident, 30th April 2006 until the July. I was first formally interviewed in June 2006, then again in September. I was charged via postal summons in November last year. Magistrates passed the case to Crown Court on 13/12/06, as their sentencing powers were not sufficient and at that point I knew I was going to prison.

10 days short of a year after my accident, I pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and banned from driving for 3 years, for dangerous driving. Aside from the odd speeding conviction (I was driving 65,000 miles a year for the previous 10 years), I had never been in trouble with the Police before.

There was no feeling, no shock, no crying or anger when I was sent down from that court room. Just numbness. As the judge finished his sentencing, I had just one opportunity of shouting to my other half how much I loved her, before being lead into the downstairs of the court. The guard, a nice guy in his late 50s, explained that he had to handcuff me to himself, and down I went. Immediately down, through a number of locked, barred gates, to a booking in counter. All my possessions, and my belt, taken. My height measured. All my details recorded. Then 4 hours in a windowless cell with nothing but a wooden bench and contemplation for company.

4.30pm on a sunny Friday afternoon, leaving a happy looking Carlisle, but for me, in the back of a paddywagon. Watching people leaving school and work with a smile on their faces, looking forward to a weekend of choices. I was heading to HMP Durham.

You can say what you like about prison, and how easy it is, how great you think the facilities are, how prison is like a holiday camp. It's none of those things. It's a demeaning, soul-less place full of sad and sometimes evil people who have lives none of us would ever want or even imagine. All the freedoms you take for granted are removed in the name of control and security to the point that you're constantly reminded how little value society as a whole places on your miserable little existence.

I could write reams and reams about the prison system and the feelings being in it evoke, but I fear to do so would be heavy reading for the casual PHer. I would be happy to answer any questions people have about prison or my ordeal, though.


http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=141&t=442266&i=40

David
There is a though-provoking part of the thread on Page 12....

10 Pence Short (on PH) - Press Coverage said:
A car driver who left a motorcyclist severely injured after a crash while using the A686 at Hartside “like a race track” was sent to prison for 12 months.

The accident happened when Olley, who was driving one of a convoy of high powered Honda Civic cars, passed two vehicles at high speed and then tried to overtake another on a blind bend before losing control and hitting a motorbike coming the other way.

Mrs. Linda Vance, prosecuting, told the court that Olley, using the nickname “Ten Pence Short”, had used an Internet website for Honda Civic drivers to arrange a meet in a Penrith supermarket car park.

From there, she said, he led them up the A686 to Hartside a road he described on the website as “a good little route for cars like ours”. He suggested that “the best games” involved “finding a guy in a superior car and watching him trying to keep up”, she said.
 
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Swiss Toni

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I can not remember when a bloke ont'internet held my attention in the way this guy has.
PH Thread said:
When the accident happened, 4 of the first few cars on the scene happened to be high performance Hondas. A couple of the Civics had windows stickers with the club URL on them. It didn't take a rocket scientist to find out what my username was, and within a few hours of the accident the Police had downloaded the forum and printed out all of my comments. In the light of the events that day, some of the comments on the Civic forum turned out to be very damning. People who didn't know the context in which they were being said, or the character who was saying them would have to take the comments on face value, and face value said that I was a boy racing tw&t.

So now the Police had evidence from witnesses and they had evidence from an internet forum which proved I treated that road like a plaything and was predisposed to driving quickly.

Add to that the thorough investigation carried out by the Collision Investigation Unit. This concluded that the likely cause of the accident was any or a combination of excessive speed, coarse braking and or steering. In reality it was the former.
 

stevesey

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There is a though-provoking part of the thread on Page 12....
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Pence Short (on PH) - Press Coverage
A car driver who left a motorcyclist severely injured after a crash while using the A686 at Hartside “like a race track” was sent to prison for 12 months.

The accident happened when Olley, who was driving one of a convoy of high powered Honda Civic cars, passed two vehicles at high speed and then tried to overtake another on a blind bend before losing control and hitting a motorbike coming the other way.

Mrs. Linda Vance, prosecuting, told the court that Olley, using the nickname “Ten Pence Short”, had used an Internet website for Honda Civic drivers to arrange a meet in a Penrith supermarket car park.

From there, she said, he led them up the A686 to Hartside a road he described on the website as “a good little route for cars like ours”. He suggested that “the best games” involved “finding a guy in a superior car and watching him trying to keep up”, she said.
Read the guys version on page 13 as well. He makes no excuses, but does highlight how press coverage and what has been said in the past on internet forums can make things look even worse.

Also some of the other stories in this thread are very sobering.
 

Uberwagon

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Crap things happen to good people, both the biker and Ollie.

He shows a massive amount of character by reacting the way he did, the biker did nothing wrong and his life has been immeasurably affected.

Dave!
 

rf065

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Reminds me of the thread on the BMW forum where a guy from Florida was telling how he thrashed his M5 and looking for advice on making it faster, a few days later, he & his pals all died in it.

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st4

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PH forum said:
This is the fundamental flaw in the British Judicial system IMHO – it should be the action that is judged, rather then the consequence.

How many times have we seen the scum of society steal a car, drive though the centre of towns & villages at 80+mph whilst being pursued by Police, without a care for anybody’s safety, crashing into some inanimate object and then being punished by community service and/or fine purely because there were no casualties.

Then we have 10p’s story, which AFAIK, seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum and was just a pleasant drive gone wrong, which could happen to any one of us.

In my opinion, the former is the far worse crime
I agree with this. There was no malicious intent here by 10p short, just a momentry lapse of control. I didn't see the need for a prison stretch. However by not punishing him you send out a message that its okay to lose control of cars and kill people so there needs a balance otherwise you'll have people driving like lunatics and maiming others knowing there is no punishiment. So there needs to be a balance between punishing on the basis of intent and punishing on the basis of consequence. I personally think a community service punishment would have been more appropriate, maybe a lengthier one but imprisonment doesn't seem a fit punishment.
 

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Yep, I've been posting on Pistonheads for quite a while now. It's scary reading, and something to think about when "Pushing the envelope". Doesn't take a massive error to end up like that guy did.
 

oldcro

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Why am I reading lots of support for 10 Pence Short here who through his own stupid actions ruined another mans life, leaving him crippled, in pain and unable to support his family for the rest of his life?

Ask the bikers family if they thought his sentence was too harsh as they are the ones who's lives have been ruined, through speed and showing off.
 

st4

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Yep, I've been posting on Pistonheads for quite a while now. It's scary reading, and something to think about when "Pushing the envelope". Doesn't take a massive error to end up like that guy did.
And the biker lived - its by no means the worst story I've heard. There was a sad case on that thread where someone managed to kill their 6yr old son by driving like an ****.

There is someone I know of who killed someone as a result of drink driving. Jim lived 500 yards from his of choice, but is quite lazy so drives to the pub and drives back. He has been doing this for years before the fateful night where a pregnant woman (and her unborn child were killed). It was a wet rainy night and she was changing the wheel on her car after a puncture, jim didn't see this and ran into her taking her head clean off and she died on scene. Jim was sentanced to 3 years, he was in Barlinie for this IIRC.

On one hand 3 years seems pretty light for killing someone in a pretty gruesome way (arguably he killed 2). Although we need to bare in mind this is an indirect consequence and there was no malicious intent, so his crime was drink driving but it had much more serious consequences that night.

However on the other hand his laziness and stupidity (4x over the limit) resulted in the death of 2 people (one of which hadn't even had a chance of life).

To punish on the consequence of the crime seems harsh and unfair, but its got to act as a deterent for others, otherwise we'll have drunken Jims running folk over and thinking its okay. We need to balance it.

Initially I thought this sentance was overbaring in what was a motoring offence, but since being released from prison he is back to driving to the pub and having a fair few and driving home. Whats worse he is a truant officer for our local school, and had a few lunch time drinks and drives about our town in this state. On this basis 3 years inside hasn't tought our JIm anything, and now he has been cought drink driving again. I don't want to see him behind bars but in the public good (and in his own) he needs removed from our roads. I can forgive one accident and mistake, but to carry on practicing ones dangerous actions aftering seeing their full potential consequences happen just seems daft.

The pistonheads poster shows remorse and regret for his mistake, Jim showed nothing and as a result I see even more clearly that prison is a very unsuitable punishment for this sort of crime as it doesn't change the ways of those who's ways need changed. it just buys us 3 years of protection from them. The guilt of what 10p did was punishment enough, and he'll take that to the grave. A prisoner can't give back to society, someone sentanced to community service to do labour can.

Why am I reading lots of support for 10 Pence Short here who through his own stupid actions ruined another mans life, leaving him crippled, in pain and unable to support his family for the rest of his life?

Ask the bikers family if they thought his sentence was too harsh as they are the ones who's lives have been ruined, through speed and showing off.
I can see your angle, really I can. But what punishment is suitable? Cutting off 10ps right foot so he can't drive again. What is done cannot be undone, and really no punishment will be of benefit to a) the injured biker b) the injured bikers family. I admire 10p's courage in speaking up, putting his head above the parrapit and trying to apologise to the persons who he indirectly injured. He has had the backbone to admit what he did was wrong, and whilst you may think the punishment was inappropriate he has tried to illustrate to an audience which is into high speed driving that it can, and does go wrong.

Some reference was made re the speed of the bike, we don't have a clue how fast he was going but given a 2s reaction time that was being quote is the biker 100% innocent. Look at the damage to the honda car, it wasn't dawdling.

People need to be aware that biking and car driving have that "wrong place wrong time" risk and accept the potential risks of being on the roads, if they cannot they really shouldn't use them as they can't live with the dire consequences of what goes wrong. What if 10p was driving safe and his tyre blew out, and he spun and the biker crashed into him? Then there is no blame but still a horrific accident with terrible human cost.
 
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stevesey

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Why am I reading lots of support for 10 Pence Short here who through his own stupid actions ruined another mans life, leaving him crippled, in pain and unable to support his family for the rest of his life?
I don't know 10 Pence, or exactly now he was driving on that day, so I'm not going to judge him, but he admits he was pushing on and made an error of judgement that had drastic consequences. On any other day the road conditions might have been different, the skid might have just been a slight twitch (if anything), he may have been able to control it, there may have been nothing coming the other way...

From my point of view any support for 10 Pence is not for his actions prior to the accident, but the way he has accepted responsibility and is offering his story as a warning to others.

Also I think we should remember that we don't have to be pushing on across country for something like this to happen to us, we could equally be distracted whilst driving round the local ring road, or past a school, with similar life changing results.
 

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Some reference was made re the speed of the bike, we don't have a clue how fast he was going but given a 2s reaction time that was being quote is the biker 100% innocent. Look at the damage to the Honda car, it wasn't dawdling.
More likely the car was shifting.
This is supported by two points, one, the car skidded out sideways which just doesn't happen at low speed or by momentary lapse of concentration, and two, His bike had been thrown some 14 metres back the way it came.
If the car was going slowly or stopped the bike would travel forwards at the point of impact, it went backwards so the energy in the collision must have come from the car not the bike.

I read the whole thread earlier and absolutely applaud 10p for accepting the consequences of his actions and accepting the blame was his and not the poor motorcyclist.
Without a doubt he appears full of regret but he admits he was driving dangerously, which is what he was correctly sentenced for.
 

st13phil

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I read the whole thread earlier and absolutely applaud 10p for accepting the consequences of his actions and accepting the blame was his and not the poor motorcyclist.
Without a doubt he appears full of regret but he admits he was driving dangerously, which is what he was correctly sentenced for.
Agreed. The guy sounds as though he took full responsibility for what he caused to happen very early in the process - in fact at the scene - and I suspect that his remorse and regret were not affected in any way by the fact that he ended up being punished through imprisonment.

The British justice system has many faults, but one good feature of it is that people are (generally) sentenced for the nature of their transgression rather than the consequences. Sentencing based primarily upon the outcome of actions - that are often random in nature - is a dangerous step away from punishment towards vengeance and retribution.
 

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More likely the car was shifting.
This is supported by two points, one, the car skidded out sideways which just doesn't happen at low speed or by momentary lapse of concentration, and two, His bike had been thrown some 14 metres back the way it came.
If the car was going slowly or stopped the bike would travel forwards at the point of impact, it went backwards so the energy in the collision must have come from the car not the bike.

I read the whole thread earlier and absolutely applaud 10p for accepting the consequences of his actions and accepting the blame was his and not the poor motorcyclist.
Without a doubt he appears full of regret but he admits he was driving dangerously, which is what he was correctly sentenced for.
I take your point entirely and agree with all you say apart from the bit I put in bold. The final part, not the conviction, but the sentance itself I feel is a matter of debate. Lets say there was no injury to a 3rd party and this skid was a "cought on camera " conviction, would they go prison - probably not. They'd get a fine (another bone of contention of mine but we've been over this before), points on the licence and maybe a small ban.

The crime itself (of 10p) is dangerous driving, morally anyway. The consequence of that crime is the tragic consequence, but there is no malcicous intent, hence the reasoning behing my post. Some will agree, some will agree. These are my opinions, not hard facts ;)

Back to the speed of the bike, we'll never know, unless the speedo jammed @ the point of impact and I am glad for one that this isn't the case because the biker has well and truly suffered enough, even if it was entirely his fault.

Given the nature of the road, you'd have to be going very slowly to see your stopping distance @ all times IMHO
 
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Swiss Toni

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IThe crime itself (of 10p) is dangerous driving, morally anyway. The consequence of that crime is the tragic consequence, but there is no malcicous intent, hence the reasoning behing my post. Some will agree, some will agree. These are my opinions, not hard facts ;)
Doesn't it tend to be the difference between Malicious Intent, Foolish/Stupid Bevaiour and Noble-Cause Corruption that gets folks hot under the collar when they read a less than accurate summary of a court case in the local rag?
 

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