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I am a little conflicted about this.

It was an accident, and the widow wants to move on. At the same time, one policy reason behind punishment is to deter future action. Thus, the fact that the widow wants to move is not that relevant, from a policy POV. What matters is whether the punishment for killing another road user is sufficient to cause future drivers to be more careful, and to kill less often. $2500 and up to 1 year seems pretty light: why not negligent manslaughter?

Let's see if I can remember the 4 reasons for incarceration (we just did this in my sociology class):

1. incapacitation - prevent further offenses from that person
2. deterrence - make an example, deter others from committing the offense
3. rehabilitation - change person into a law-abiding citizen
4. retribution - basically, revenge

Perhaps retribution is out (widow's wishes) and incapacitation can be accomplished by simply suspending Chandler's license, but deterrence is important. Too often, endangering and even killing cyclists and pedestrians is considered socially acceptable because there is no (significant) punishment. That's why we rarely even have this kind of a discussion... typically, it seems, the case is just thrown out or the driver gets a slap on the wrist.

Putting a young person in jail is never cause for celebration. But - she killed someone. Punishment should be severe because the message needs to get out there that you are responsible for what you do when behind the wheel. I agree with SJE - this charge is too light.

I'd say there is another reason: signaling. By pursuing drivers who kill or injure others the government signals that it will do what it can to protect those users, with the hope that the incident will not discourage people from biking.

I'd agree that the sentence is probably too weak. Reckless driving is a moving violation and killing someone - even if by accident - should probably be treated as more serious than that. But at the same time, I'm not eager to see her go to jail for some lengthy time period. I'd be content if they take away her license for a few years and give her a long probation period.

It's too late to bring back Mirenda and any punishment of the driver surely would not equal the pain and remorse she must be feeling.

What we should be seeking to punish are the behaviors that led to this accident and the police filing charges of reckless driving. Surely this wasn't the first time she operated an automobile in a dangerous manner.

Why are so many motorists outraged that cameras are being installed to catch their red light running and speeding?

Because most motorists drive recklessly and in an endangering manner at some point. The worst do it everyday. But the possibility of their facing any punishment is small until they kill someone.

We need to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards speeding, red light running, aggressive driving, etc. like we've done with driving and drinking.

Yes it is unrealistic that we could ever have sufficient enforcement. But the cameras are a start. It's not unthinkable we could have transponders (snitch devices) in cars that would self-report speeding and other illegal activities.

Ultimately, though, I think we have to change the culture of driving, just like MADD was able to do with drinking, so that society itself no longer condones it with a wink and a nod.

I'd start by ramming home that driving is a privilege not a birth right that one is granted upon turing 16. ANY violation would not be punished by a mere "point" on a driving record or a small fine. I'd take away the right to drive right there and then. Maybe for a day, a week. More serious violations would warrant a year or more.

Get caught driving while suspended? Then we take the CAR!

When people fully understand the consequences of operating several thousand pounds of steel and glass then they will endeavor to drive in the most responsible manner possible.

To put this in context: class 1 misdemeanor is for the first time caught driving with BAC>0.08, which is a violation of the public safety. i.e., without damaging any property or person

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