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Fw: Road Traffic Penalties consultation

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  • Simon Baddeley
    I do hope there will be quite a bit of discussion of this Home Office Consultation paper on new Road Traffic Offences. The document - already posted here - can
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 1, 2001
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      I do hope there will be quite a bit of discussion of this Home Office
      Consultation paper on new Road Traffic Offences.

      The document - already posted here - can be read from:

      http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/cpd/sou/rtpcons.pdf

      Written representations need to be in by 9 March 2001. There's an address
      for these on Page 4 of the Consultation document.

      What follows is an extract from a letter I wrote to a friend of mine who
      lost his only daughter last March as a result of the actions of a reckless
      driver who was speeding, intoxicated and uninsured and without a full
      driving licence.

      "The social myopia surrounding road death statistics (compared for instance
      to reactions to rail fatalities) means that neither the victim not their
      friends and neighbours know how to take on board an event whose gravity is
      still contested. If you imagine the circumstances surrounding loss in war or
      someone murdered by a stranger, such terrible things can at least be
      subsumed under imperfect but still widely understood mores about giving and
      seeking comfort and consolation. In the case of road deaths there seems,
      even among those most directly affected a willingness to accept as
      accidental what you and I see as criminal. This flawed recognition of the
      gravity of the event - because it involved a car and occurred on the road -
      creates a social limbo that compounds the isolation of those bereaved by
      reckless driving. Most of those around us are not child molesters, murderers
      or people inclined to violence, but a large percentage of the population are
      drivers with relatives who drive and who can often acknowledge - privately
      to themselves or even publicly among other drivers - that they have acted
      with less than total responsibility while at the wheel. For many of these
      the gap between minor delinquencies with fatal consequences merges into the
      fact of major delinquency with fatal consequences. This fact muddies the
      moral waters of those who serve on juries or, in other ways, influence
      public attitudes. Changing values as these relate to the moral standing of
      reckless driving involves taking on a culture propped up by millions of
      fallible humans who drive cars. Social sharing of what has happened will
      continue to be more difficult than 'normal' until norms alter. This requires
      a shared view in the population at large of the gravity of the offence that
      took xxxx from you."

      I really hope that the government will be given the strongest encouragement
      to introduce legislation that changes the view of many of us that the safest
      way these days to commit murder or grievous bodily harm and escape with
      little or no punishment is to use a car or truck to commit the crime.

      Firmer legislation is not enough but one may still respond to the
      consultation document while acknowledging that there must be a another
      complex process of attitude change that runs alongside changes in the law
      influencing the actual behaviour of judges, magistrates and juries. Note for
      instance that the paper says the matter is not so much about increasing some
      fairly stiff penalties but getting the courts to exercise them. Changes in
      laws that were widely perceived as too harsh occurred because juries simply
      would not convict. This interrelationship between public opinion and legal
      action seems healthy - but in this case it reminds us of the need to press
      on in pursuit of changed attitudes and to seek to exercise influence on
      these through letters to MPs and councillors, media letters and articles and
      public statements to the smallest and largest possible groups.

      Happy New Year 2001

      Simon

      Simon Baddeley
      34 Beaudesert Road
      Handsworth
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      0121 554 9794
      07775 655842


      Simon Baddeley
      34 Beaudesert Road
      Handsworth
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      0121 554 9794
      07775 655842
    • Richard Risemberg
      Simon-- May I edit this a bit and eventually put it in either New Colonist or Living Room? It s moving, intelligent, and pertinent, as are most of your
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 2, 2001
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        Simon--

        May I edit this a bit and eventually put it in either New Colonist or
        Living Room? It's moving, intelligent, and pertinent, as are most of
        your postings.

        Thanks,

        Richard

        Simon Baddeley wrote:
        >
        > I do hope there will be quite a bit of discussion of this Home Office
        > Consultation paper on new Road Traffic Offences.
        >
        > The document - already posted here - can be read from:
        >
        > http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/cpd/sou/rtpcons.pdf
        >
        > Written representations need to be in by 9 March 2001. There's an address
        > for these on Page 4 of the Consultation document.
        >
        > What follows is an extract from a letter I wrote to a friend of mine who
        > lost his only daughter last March as a result of the actions of a reckless
        > driver who was speeding, intoxicated and uninsured and without a full
        > driving licence.
        >
        > "The social myopia surrounding road death statistics (compared for instance
        > to reactions to rail fatalities) means that neither the victim not their
        > friends and neighbours know how to take on board an event whose gravity is
        > still contested. If you imagine the circumstances surrounding loss in war or
        > someone murdered by a stranger, such terrible things can at least be
        > subsumed under imperfect but still widely understood mores about giving and
        > seeking comfort and consolation. In the case of road deaths there seems,
        > even among those most directly affected a willingness to accept as
        > accidental what you and I see as criminal. This flawed recognition of the
        > gravity of the event - because it involved a car and occurred on the road -
        > creates a social limbo that compounds the isolation of those bereaved by
        > reckless driving. Most of those around us are not child molesters, murderers
        > or people inclined to violence, but a large percentage of the population are
        > drivers with relatives who drive and who can often acknowledge - privately
        > to themselves or even publicly among other drivers - that they have acted
        > with less than total responsibility while at the wheel. For many of these
        > the gap between minor delinquencies with fatal consequences merges into the
        > fact of major delinquency with fatal consequences. This fact muddies the
        > moral waters of those who serve on juries or, in other ways, influence
        > public attitudes. Changing values as these relate to the moral standing of
        > reckless driving involves taking on a culture propped up by millions of
        > fallible humans who drive cars. Social sharing of what has happened will
        > continue to be more difficult than 'normal' until norms alter. This requires
        > a shared view in the population at large of the gravity of the offence that
        > took xxxx from you."
        >
        > I really hope that the government will be given the strongest encouragement
        > to introduce legislation that changes the view of many of us that the safest
        > way these days to commit murder or grievous bodily harm and escape with
        > little or no punishment is to use a car or truck to commit the crime.
        >
        > Firmer legislation is not enough but one may still respond to the
        > consultation document while acknowledging that there must be a another
        > complex process of attitude change that runs alongside changes in the law
        > influencing the actual behaviour of judges, magistrates and juries. Note for
        > instance that the paper says the matter is not so much about increasing some
        > fairly stiff penalties but getting the courts to exercise them. Changes in
        > laws that were widely perceived as too harsh occurred because juries simply
        > would not convict. This interrelationship between public opinion and legal
        > action seems healthy - but in this case it reminds us of the need to press
        > on in pursuit of changed attitudes and to seek to exercise influence on
        > these through letters to MPs and councillors, media letters and articles and
        > public statements to the smallest and largest possible groups.
        >
        > Happy New Year 2001
        >
        > Simon
        >
        > Simon Baddeley
        > 34 Beaudesert Road
        > Handsworth
        > Birmingham B15 2TT
        > 0121 554 9794
        > 07775 655842
        >
        > Simon Baddeley
        > 34 Beaudesert Road
        > Handsworth
        > Birmingham B15 2TT
        > 0121 554 9794
        > 07775 655842
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/

        --
        Richard Risemberg
        rickrise@...
        Living Room Urban Ecology webzine: http://www.living-room.org
        "There is more to life than increasing its speed." (Gandhi)
      • Simon Baddeley
        Dear Richard Yes please - but first may I have a word with my friend and colleague Ray Puffitt who with his wife Anne are the parents of Jane Puffitt who was
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 2, 2001
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          Dear Richard

          Yes please - but first may I have a word with my friend and colleague Ray
          Puffitt who with his wife Anne are the parents of Jane Puffitt who was
          killed on March 25 last year. He wrote a letter to me containing a statement
          to the court about the impact of Jane's death on him and his wife that you
          might also want to include in part or whole (please view the attached as
          highly confidential as it has not yet been seen by the court that is trying
          the driver).

          I would like also to check with Ray and Anne that it is alright to proceed
          with this - because in a way I would prefer Jane's name to be mentioned (we
          have a memorial prize in her memory in my department at the university) and
          for that I need Ray's and Anne's permission. They may say (as might you)
          that the "victim impact statement" is either too personal or, because the
          next court hearing is in a few days and will almost certainly not be the end
          of the matter, could be sub judice.

          Sorry to complicate things but if we get this right it will help all of us
          and maybe even be a source of some consolation to Jane's parents.
          Best wishes

          Simon


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Richard Risemberg <rickrise@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@egroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 2:35 PM
          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Fw: Road Traffic Penalties consultation


          > Simon--
          >
          > May I edit this a bit and eventually put it in either New Colonist or
          > Living Room? It's moving, intelligent, and pertinent, as are most of
          > your postings.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Richard
          >
          > Simon Baddeley wrote:
          > >
          > > I do hope there will be quite a bit of discussion of this Home Office
          > > Consultation paper on new Road Traffic Offences.
          > >
          > > The document - already posted here - can be read from:
          > >
          > > http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/cpd/sou/rtpcons.pdf
          > >
          > > Written representations need to be in by 9 March 2001. There's an
          address
          > > for these on Page 4 of the Consultation document.
          > >
          > > What follows is an extract from a letter I wrote to a friend of mine who
          > > lost his only daughter last March as a result of the actions of a
          reckless
          > > driver who was speeding, intoxicated and uninsured and without a full
          > > driving licence.
          > >
          > > "The social myopia surrounding road death statistics (compared for
          instance
          > > to reactions to rail fatalities) means that neither the victim not their
          > > friends and neighbours know how to take on board an event whose gravity
          is
          > > still contested. If you imagine the circumstances surrounding loss in
          war or
          > > someone murdered by a stranger, such terrible things can at least be
          > > subsumed under imperfect but still widely understood mores about giving
          and
          > > seeking comfort and consolation. In the case of road deaths there seems,
          > > even among those most directly affected a willingness to accept as
          > > accidental what you and I see as criminal. This flawed recognition of
          the
          > > gravity of the event - because it involved a car and occurred on the
          road -
          > > creates a social limbo that compounds the isolation of those bereaved by
          > > reckless driving. Most of those around us are not child molesters,
          murderers
          > > or people inclined to violence, but a large percentage of the population
          are
          > > drivers with relatives who drive and who can often acknowledge -
          privately
          > > to themselves or even publicly among other drivers - that they have
          acted
          > > with less than total responsibility while at the wheel. For many of
          these
          > > the gap between minor delinquencies with fatal consequences merges into
          the
          > > fact of major delinquency with fatal consequences. This fact muddies the
          > > moral waters of those who serve on juries or, in other ways, influence
          > > public attitudes. Changing values as these relate to the moral standing
          of
          > > reckless driving involves taking on a culture propped up by millions of
          > > fallible humans who drive cars. Social sharing of what has happened will
          > > continue to be more difficult than 'normal' until norms alter. This
          requires
          > > a shared view in the population at large of the gravity of the offence
          that
          > > took xxxx from you."
          > >
          > > I really hope that the government will be given the strongest
          encouragement
          > > to introduce legislation that changes the view of many of us that the
          safest
          > > way these days to commit murder or grievous bodily harm and escape with
          > > little or no punishment is to use a car or truck to commit the crime.
          > >
          > > Firmer legislation is not enough but one may still respond to the
          > > consultation document while acknowledging that there must be a another
          > > complex process of attitude change that runs alongside changes in the
          law
          > > influencing the actual behaviour of judges, magistrates and juries. Note
          for
          > > instance that the paper says the matter is not so much about increasing
          some
          > > fairly stiff penalties but getting the courts to exercise them. Changes
          in
          > > laws that were widely perceived as too harsh occurred because juries
          simply
          > > would not convict. This interrelationship between public opinion and
          legal
          > > action seems healthy - but in this case it reminds us of the need to
          press
          > > on in pursuit of changed attitudes and to seek to exercise influence on
          > > these through letters to MPs and councillors, media letters and articles
          and
          > > public statements to the smallest and largest possible groups.
          > >
          > > Happy New Year 2001
          > >
          > > Simon
          > >
          > > Simon Baddeley
          > > 34 Beaudesert Road
          > > Handsworth
          > > Birmingham B15 2TT
          > > 0121 554 9794
          > > 07775 655842
          > >
          > > Simon Baddeley
          > > 34 Beaudesert Road
          > > Handsworth
          > > Birmingham B15 2TT
          > > 0121 554 9794
          > > 07775 655842
          > >
          > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
          > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
          > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
          >
          > --
          > Richard Risemberg
          > rickrise@...
          > Living Room Urban Ecology webzine: http://www.living-room.org
          > "There is more to life than increasing its speed." (Gandhi)
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
          > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Simon Baddeley
          Dear all I ve just sent an email with a confidential attachment to carfree-groups that was meant only for Richard Risemberg. Sorry about this - please try to
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 2, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear all

            I've just sent an email with a confidential attachment to carfree-groups
            that was meant only for Richard Risemberg. Sorry about this - please try to
            ignore for the time being. Many apologies.

            Please note Richard!

            Best wishes

            Simon

            Simon Baddeley
            34 Beaudesert Road
            Handsworth
            Birmingham B15 2TT
            0121 554 9794
            07775 655842
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