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EDITORIAL – Those who enable unfit drivers should be equally liable

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An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

A SAD COURT CASE in the Kootenays highlights the issue of drivers who continue to get behind the wheel when they have no business doing so.

An 86-year-old man in Trail has been convicted of criminal negligence and sentenced to two years in jail and prohibited from driving for life. He was found responsible for a collision in 2016 in which a 27-year-old motorcyclist was killed.

The man, Theodore Finlay Levick, was driving an SUV when he turned left off a highway into the path of the motorcyclist, Meaghan Brown. She died at the scene.

Levick is legally blind and had been banned from driving for 15 years. Despite that, he continued to drive regularly, in borrowed vehicles.

Whether a two-year sentence for an 86-year-old man is enough, is debatable.

But the more important issue here is the fact he was driving because someone made it possible. Not only was he not reported for continuing to drive, but he was loaned a vehicle.

I don’t agree with pulling someone’s driver’s licence based on age alone, but when someone is medically or cognitively not fit, he or she needs to be taken off the road.

Losing your driver’s licence is a traumatic loss of independence. Referring a loved one for medical evaluation when the result might be the loss of that independence is one of the toughest things a family member has to do.

But, not only is it essential to do it, there should be legal consequences if we knowingly let that person continue to drive after their licence has been taken away — or, worse, help them to drive. Whoever gave Theodore Levick the use of a vehicle should have been standing in court with him facing the same charge.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6934 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Those who enable unfit drivers should be equally liable

  1. Well first off, did the owner of the vehicle know he was prohibited from driving? Probably not. But, following this logic, does that mean the government would be liable every time a criminal reoffends?

  2. The law already allows for the owner of the vehicle to be held vicariously liable for tragedies, such as this. The decision not to pursue the owner as criminally responsible, must have been made at the prosecutorial level. Perhaps a different decision would have set a more useful example.

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