Con­di­tions, obli­ga­tions, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

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.

Paul Martin

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

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