Conditions, obligations, responsibilities
We now know what a lot of our readers think about the notion of responsibility. It doesn’t apply to them. First, an editorial in this newspaper is not an article and in English media around the world they are unsigned and are the editorial position of the newspaper.
We stand by our editorial of two weeks ago, every word of it.
The young lady involved in this accident was not responsible for it but the fact that her brother was not wearing his seat belt is an offense under the Highway Safety Code. The code is clear and applies to all. One must wear a seat belt, article 396, and a driver is RESPONSIBLE to see that anyone under 16 wears one, as article 401 says: No person may drive a road vehicle carrying a passenger under 16 years of age who does not fulfil the obligations prescribed under this division. Now for those who say that this is only a Quebec law, article 106 (4) of the Ontario one says the same thing; it even goes further in telling you how a seat belt must be worn. We will not bore you with article 202 of the Criminal Code of Canada. We were adamant in our editorial that we thought that the young lady in question was suffering enough as is, without criminal negligence charges being brought upon her.
In Galaske v. O Donnel, the Supreme Court of Canada said: A driver of a motor vehicle owes a duty of care to his passengers to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injuries, and that duty of care extends to ensuring that passengers under 16 years of age wear their seat belts. Passengers and drivers have a duty to ensure their own safety in a car by wearing seat belts, and a failure to do so will result in an assessment of contributory negligence. Children under 16 require guidance and direction from parents and older persons, which must extend to ensuring that they wear their seat belts. Two or more people may bear that responsibility, but one of those responsible must always be the driver of the car. A driver taking children as passengers must accept some responsibility for the safety of those children. The driving of a motor vehicle is a licensed activity that is subject to a number of conditions, and obligations and responsibilities flow from the right to drive. It later adds: It may also be taken as indicating that such a failure on the part of the driver demonstrates conduct which falls below the standard required by the community and is thus negligent.
Accidents are accidents. Nobody can or is suggesting that the young driver is at fault in that accident. Seat belts are a hindrance and of no use whatsoever most of the time. As a matter of fact, most people wearing them will, luckily, never have a use for them. Seat belts only exist to protect one self and those for who we are responsible when an accident occurs. And accident are by definition unplanned events.
We would never blame anyone for having an accident. But we agree with the Supreme Court: Driving a car implies that we follow conditions, respect obligations and accept responsibilities.
I am writing about the building they just tore down at lower intersection on Dufferin St. I was wondering, since it was being demolished, were the doors on the side saved? To me, they looked fairly expensive and maybe even winterized, though I’m not a door expert. I also noticed a large table in the big window of the old Stanstead Journal section. Was this table completely useless, no life left in it whatsoever? What about all the counters inside? Nobody thought to offer them for free to someone? It just seems to me that it’s a waste to have destroyed a building without trying to re-use and recycle some of what it still contained.
It saddens me to read letters to the Editor from people who don’t read correctly or maybe just don’t understand the meaning of things. In last week’s letters to the Editor, I was disappointed to see how people jumped and panicked to the NEEDLESS GRIEVING editorial. In no way what so ever does the Editor blame the sister for the accident. And I quote: “Can we blame his grieving seventeen year-old sister? (…) She will live with this for the rest of her life; punishment enough.” Where, may I ask and how is this blaming the sister? All this editorial says, and let me say I agree with it myself, is that there should be more importance and attention given to driving classes, even including them in the academic programs would be great and that seat belts are important. We have all been young before. Okay, some of you may not have done crazy things but myself I admit to having driven faster than the speed limit, have run stop signs, not wearing my seat belt and have passed on double lines in my younger years. Now with age, I have come to notice, not only because it pains me inside every time I have had to pay a ticket, but because it just makes sense to no longer do such crazy, irresponsible things. And yes, age is a big factor for accidents. A young inexperienced driver might not know how to react to a certain situation that another more experienced driver might have already encountered and found out how to control.
The death of anyone is not a pleasant thing to experience. Probably even harder when it’s a car crash, I cannot tell, having not experienced it personally. I send my sympathies to the families. But no one is blaming anyone in this editorial and I wish you, the writers of these letters to the editor, would realize this before insulting someone and the Journal. Read the text, more than once, like I did before writing this and read it again. Maybe you will see you over reacted.
Stephanie Anna Ruf