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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Traffic law: Is a criminal charge warranted in killing others on the road?

Roads shouldn’t be governed by survival of the fittest

I heartily disagree with the state Court of Appeals and The Seattle Times [“Court right to reject Seattle traffic law,” Opinion, editorial, Aug. 21] that a traffic infraction cannot turn into a crime.

It seems to me that turning illegally into the path of an oncoming vehicle — whether bicycle or car — and killing that other person demonstrates a certain “reckless manner” and “disregard for the safety of others.”

The issue has nothing to do with the “tensions created by traffic congestion” or with “competition for road space” or with “sharing limited space.” Drivers need to avoid killing other people whether the roads are crowded or not!

Driving is not a contact sport or a blood sport governed by the law of the jungle: survival of the fittest. If drivers are not held accountable for criminal actions, or criminal outcomes, then we are all at the mercy of the legions of drivers who commit traffic infractions through carelessness, thoughtlessness, stupidity, irresponsibility and incompetence.

— Dale Flynn, Shoreline

Judge had duty to uphold state law

A motorist should be held accountable for the injury or death of a pedestrian or cyclist. I understand the anger at the overturning of the Seattle law.

However, the anger is directed in the wrong direction. The Seattle ordinance conflicted with state law, and judges have a duty to determine what the letter of the law is. The judge overturned the Seattle law because it was against state law.

The judge can’t change the law and neither can The Times.

What really needs to be done is to change the state law so careless motorists are held accountable for their carelessness. Those angry about the court’s decision should write to their state legislators urging a change in the law.

— Bob Fleming, Seattle

Comments | More in bicycling, courts, Pedestrians, Public safety, Seattle, Traffic congestion, Transportation

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