March 2, 2014
Emotions are justifiably high after a recent fatal alcohol-related car accident in Texas, in which a drunk driver plowed through a group of persons standing outside a popular music festival. One of those injured was a tourist on his bicycle. A number of pedestrian and bicycle safety organizations are calling for stronger laws, holding drivers accountable for such accidents.
Two people have been confirmed killed in the carnage that resulted when the drunk driver allegedly broke through the barricades in his vehicle. The driver did not stop and continued to drive on, plowing through pedestrians standing outside the venue of the music festival in Austin. After a while, the car came to a complete stop, and the driver fled the scene on foot. By the time the carnage ended, two people had been confirmed killed, and more than 20 people had been injured. At least five of the injured are believed to be in a critical condition.
The loss of life here, and the number of injuries that have occurred as well as the preventability of this accident, has heightened tempers. Pedestrian and bicycle safety groups are calling for stronger rules that hold drivers responsible, when they engage in such negligent driving.
They are specifically calling for pedestrian and bicycle safety rules that mirror those in countries like the Netherlands, and in other European countries. In the Netherlands, for instance, strict liability applies in an accident that injures a pedestrian or bicyclist. Regardless of the kind of negligence involved, the motorist is held responsible for the injuries that have been caused to the more vulnerable person, that is the pedestrian or bicyclist. Compare that to the United States, where motorists very often get a wrap on the wrist for an accident that leaves pedestrians seriously injured.