Should bad drivers be shamed publicly?

Deliberately bad drivers seem to be appearing more and more often on our highways. If email to the DriveSmartBC web site is any indication, other drivers are no longer shrugging it off and report offenders in the hope that they will be held accountable. Some, including myself, have taken to posting photos or video of selfish, inconsiderate or dangerous drivers in that hope that public shaming might improve that driver’s behaviour.

Visit your favourite search engine and enter bad drivers of Vancouver or bad parkers of Kelowna and you will find all sorts of examples of driving or parking that make you wonder why these people still hold valid BC driver’s licences. Probably some of them do not.

Do any of these bad drivers ever see themselves on the internet? I’ve only had one instance where a woman named as the driver responsible for a collision in case law that I posted ask to have her name removed from DriveSmartBC. As it was a published BC Supreme Court judgment I explained and refused. Nothing further was said.

Shame is a very powerful emotion that can drive personal change. It is also a useful tool to encourage others to conform to societal norms. Is it morally justifiable? If you have no other means to counter people choosing to put your life and health at risk, perhaps it is.

Remove the buds, bud

The collision counter on the DriveSmartBC web site estimates 33 pedestrian deaths and 1374 pedestrian injury collisions in BC to July 29, 2015. I almost added to that number driving in Vancouver this summer and the incident still has me shaking my head. I can’t believe that a pedestrian could be that stupid!

I had stopped for a red light in the downtown area and intended to make a right turn.

After the pedestrian signal went red and the people had crossed, I pulled across the marked crosswalk and stopped again where I could see cross traffic well. I found my gap and was about to proceed when I looked right and found a pedestrian right in front of me crossing against the light.

He was busy with his cell phone and was wearing earbuds and never even looked at me as he walked around the car.

He probably owes some of his good fortune to my wife who yelled and made sure that I hit the brakes before I drove over him.

The courts say that we can expect to proceed as if other road users will obey the laws. What that really means is if I had hit this person, he would probably have been assessed most of the fault for the collision. However, he was there to be seen and I would have bourne some of the blame too. Thank goodness it never came to that!

Police wrote only 210 tickets to pedestrians for failing to obey pedestrian signals in all of the province in 2014. It would appear that you have little risk of being called to account for this selfish behaviour.

 

 

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.

 

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