Are Pedestrian Accidents Really 'Accidents'?

Richard Read with the Car Connection asks an interesting question. When a driver hits and kills (or seriously injures) a pedestrian, why isn't that driver jailed? Why is the incident often characterized as an "accident," as if the driver had no control over what happened?

If the driver was drinking, for example, the driver may very well wind up in jail.

But "tell me how they're less dead" is how a detective might respond upon hearing about a traffic fatality in a big city, as Read writes, quoting a former cop. In other words, the death has already happened, there's nothing that can be done about it, and conducting a prompt and full investigation isn't necessarily the No. 1 priority compared to other perhaps more pressing criminal matters.

When it comes to collisions involving pedestrians, there are a number of issues that stand between a police officer and a conviction, as Read writes.

One, cops would have to track down a hit-and-run driver. Two, prosecutors generally need tangible evidence to convict someone of a crime (though circumstantial evidence sometimes does the trick, too), and that evidence may now be miles down the road in a hit-and-run. Three, cops need probable cause to search the data off a black box recorder, even if the driver remained at the scene.

So drivers may not always end up in jail after causing a collision, but that doesn't mean you can't hold them accountable after the fact, in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: 'Accident' Or 'Collision': Why Don't Drivers Get Jailed For Killing Pedestrians?


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