A Sydney Magistrate, Jacqueline Milledge, has proposed a ban of 200 meters from local school yards. A possible ban on convicted sex offenders? XXX theaters? Porn shops? Or maybe soda vending machines that is all the rage at the moment?
None of the above, she wants to place a ban on 4wd SUV’s in response to an accident that killed a 5 year old child. She also called for a full review of traffic inside and around schools.
The driver of the vehicle Joan Maclennan told the inquest her life was ruined after she ran over and killed the girl. Ms Maclennan said she would never drive a four-wheel-drive again. She told the court she did not see Bethany before the accident. She only felt a “thud” when she hit the girl.
Certainly it’s a terrible thing to lose any child, and to have it happen in a place that puts a premium on child safety places extra emphasis on this story. But I have a serious problem with this “solution.”
First is the assigning of “guilt” to the vehicle when it should be firmly placed in the lap of the driver. Something that, based on this article, clearly wasn’t done. She only received 250 hours’ community service and disqualified from driving for three years. Where’s the jail sentence? And some type of restitution to the victims parents?
In addition, if the Magistrate’s proposal makes it into law it will penalize all those that drive SUV’s in a safe and attentive manner. In the vast majority of cases these vehicles don’t kill people without direct intervention by a careless, thoughtless nut behind the wheel. One whose “ruined life” should include about 5 years in the Iron Bar Hotel.
Here is a challenge for Magistrate Milledge if this law is passed. Will you sign an affidavit accepting all responsilbility if a child is molested, kidnapped, or killed while making their way the 200 meters between the SUV dropoff point and school?
I won’t hold my breath.
Cross posted On the Third Hand