"no criminal charges are expected"

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Nick D
Participant
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@kordite although I agree with everything being said about safe driving, the car guy in me has to point out that the link you posted is complete BS. Putting a coil spacer in does nothing to help the spring from damage. However, it can prevent damage to the dampener. Though, the possibility for twitching handling and improper weight transfer negates any positive effects from coil spacers.

Plus, on most cars, dampeners and bushings are going to go before the springs.

My only issue with speed bumps is some cars have trouble getting over poorly designed ones. I think a better solution is more serious penalties for dangerous driving.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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another issue with speed bumps is it’s generally an easier ride if you actually speed up to some extent.


Lyle
Participant
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I’m curious how well the new “active suspensions” work on speed bumps.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Allow me to tackle another difficult angle on this story. OK, the guy killed someone. No excuses, no justifying, no nothing. The proper thing to do is to put him in jail for a while, and yank his license ASAP and for a long while afterward.

He is, however, still a human being, and assuming he tries to make his life better, chances are excellent he will be getting around on a bicycle, and maybe here and there a bus. In other words, he will sooner or later be trying to do what many of us are already doing.

What can we, as a community, do to ease the forced transfer from being a driver to a non-driver?


dwillen
Participant
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reddan
Keymaster
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What can we, as a community, do to ease the forced transfer from being a driver to a non-driver?

I’d suggest a mentoring program…a specific individual who is available to answer questions, provide companionship, and lead by example would make that transition much easier.

Not to diss anyone who provides ride leadership to the general public (Car-Free Friday leaders jump to mind), but it’s a very different thing when you have a specific person who has promised to help you out.


ejwme
Participant
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what reddan said!

Lots of people drive without licenses because they think they have to. It’d be nice if part of the “no license for you” sentencing was “oh, and you’re paired with a court appointed Alternative Transportation Liaison.” Like a parole officer, but for vehicular habits.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m coming up on 20 years of riding buses, at least 15 of which I have been the go-to guy wherever I worked whenever someone had to get someplace using public transit. The amount of learning curve in just helping one person get from A to B when they haven’t been on a bus in decades (or ever), is simply astounding.

Being forced to do this, by revocation of license, practically begs for some sort of help, help that I am almost certain does not exist. I know that I can get back and forth, car-less, to a good job that’s devoid of transit service, but I have 20 years’ training and the dogged determination to make it work.

I would be happy to help set up a training program for some sort of social counseling service for helping the newly car-less learn how to get around. It would, by necessity, involve transit, cycling and learning how to cross a street without getting killed. Would anyone care to join me in a brainstorming session, somewhere, sometime?


Lyle
Participant
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ejwme: that’s a really good idea. And that Transportation Liason would be responsible to make sure that their charges really are NOT driving without licenses.


ejwme
Participant
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I wonder if we could convince people that a urinalysis could reveal whether they’d been driving a car or not.

If we really wanted to be harsh, we could develop an ankle bracelet that, via a simple accelerometer, could identify when the wearer was in motorized transportation. I haven’t figured out in my head how to differentiate between passengering and driving. But that could get them picked up for motoring without permission, or however the other ankle bracelets work.


Mick
Participant
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If we really wanted to be harsh, we could develop an ankle bracelet that, via a simple accelerometer, could identify when the wearer was in motorized transportation. I haven’t figured out in my head how to differentiate between passengering and driving

The model I have in my head is a very long, but suspended sentence, with a parole condition being no driving.

Then, if a person is caught driving, it won’t just be a simple citatioin for driving without a license, but a parole violation and completion of the long sentence behind bars.


ejwme
Participant
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but if they follow all the laws, the likely hood of them getting caught driving without a license is slim. granted, the likely hood of them driving and following all the rules is slim. but the likely hood of them getting caught?


jkoutrouba
Participant
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http://kdka.com/local/mount.lebanon.investigation.2.1781488.html

Update on this story. So far, two counts. I’ll bet more to come.


ejwme
Participant
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“While not a factor in this incident, Cope has four traffic citations in the past four years.”

Objection!!! Directly establishes driver’s own knowledge of his incompetance behind the wheel. “Good” drivers do not get a citation a year for four years.

Stu, I have no knowledge or understanding of our social safety nets concerning how to help people who have lost licenses deal with it, but I’d be up for brainstorming/researching it :D


Lyle
Participant
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Also directly establishes the state’s knowledge of driver’s incompetence.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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@lyle, I worked with a guy a few years ago who had 11 points on his license, and got yet another moving violation. Apparently 11 is the limit? He was explaining the system to another co-worker who had run into the exact same problem. Essentially you have to go in front of a judge and get a stern talking to, pretty much read from a script. You sign forms, may have to attend a re-training class (I am not sure of this point), and then basically go about your business. All of this assumes you have only been pulled over, not been in an accident. There is a draw-down formula for removing points from your license, and more finger wagging awaits you if you re-cross that 11-point limit >1x/year. I don’t know what fate awaits you if you’ve also been in an accident, but apparently it takes quite a bit to lose a license in this state.

@ejwme, PM me with any ideas you have. I’ll do the same. Thanks!


alnilam
Participant
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Wow. Considering part of the reason I stopped driving a car ever is that I realised I was crap at it, and even crappy that I was, I never got a single infraction let alone points on my license, the amount of dangerous behaviour it must take to get 11 points must be staggering. And then those folks can get it back.


ejwme
Participant
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My insurance lady told me that my accident (from December 2008, spontaneous white out on highway near Buffalo) would disappear from my record this year so my rates would be lower next year. (I was told two years was normal for all accidents).

In this country (perhaps most others as well), the laws and their enforcement often belie our social norms. Our vehicular code indicates that we hold our cars more dear than most things in life, including at times life itself.


Mick
Participant
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Our vehicular code indicates that we hold our cars more dear than most things in life, including at times life itself.

When I worked in Clairton workds, I walked to work. I moved to a little redneck town up the Mon, so I wouldn’t be car-dependent. I talked to many of the guys about it.

A phrase I heard many times was “Taking away my car would be like taking away my legs.”

Also, I was there when we had the second or third of a series of so-called “gas crises.” (IMO, we have never had either a “gas crisis” nor has the price of gas ever been high).

At the start of gas price increases, I heard the sentence “If gas goes over a dollar, I’ll start walking, too!” Well, gas went up to well over a dollar and guess what? I still was the only one who walked to work, except for a laborer who grew up and lived 3 or 4 blocks from the mill. (And even he started driving three blocks after a while.)

People value their cars an awful lot. I don’t think many folks will ever be faced with “your car or your life.”

What I expect we’ll face, is a situation where every rational political candidate will say we need to severely limit gas consumption and driving. They will be running against obviously irrational candidates who claim it isn’t so.

If that happened now? It’s down the tubes.

Maybe not if it happens a few more decades of heavy bike/pedestrian/public transportation activism.


rsprake
Participant
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President Carter said those very things Mick and look where it got him.


Mick
Participant
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Carter was president. I’ll never be that sucessful.

He was, however, in the unfortunate political position of having to deal with a moderate, predictable gas price increase as though it was a “crisis.”

He was also president when the bills for 30 years of serious US abuse of the Iranian people started being due.

Even now we are paying off what turned out to be just 27 years rent on the BP plant in Iran.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

In the long run, it would have been cheaper to pay a penny or two more for gas.


jkoutrouba
Participant
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Even Carter instituted things like rationing so that people never had to bear the true price of gasoline. Sure, you had to wait in line, and only on certain days of the week, but your gas was still cheap. With those sorts of disconnects, the market system fails. Every gallon should include the costs of the environmental impact of producing and burning the stuff, the geo-political costs of protecting the supply and beating down the locals who get no benefit from it, etc. Unfortunately, our taxes subsidize it instead.


J Z
Participant
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HiddenVariable
Participant
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glad to see they’re pursuing this aggressively. it seems they take dui charges seriously, and well they should. but, as a topic for discussion, does anyone think the campaign against dui drivers championed by MADD has caused us to take other fatalities, such as those caused by driving while distracted, less seriously?

i have another question, too. from the article:

Toxicology tests revealed that Mr. Cope had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

have they come up with new and better tests for this, or does this just mean he smoked a joint within the last few weeks? can they pursue dui charges based on that tox screen, or is more evidence required?


sloaps
Participant
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This incident was in June and they’re throwing the book at this kid because he had weed in his system.

Don was killed in May from, by all indications, a sober but inattentive driver. So… ?


Tabby
Participant
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well, all the drug/substance charges are all additional things that won’t apply to the Harts Run Road kid. Also, I remember from the previous article that this young man had several previous driving citations which may or may not be playing a part in the charges. Certainly they will be brought up during a trial to show his (lack of) character and habit of breaking the law while driving.

It does seem to me that some of the charges would also apply to Don’s killer such as homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving/recklessly endangering another person. I would think he could still be charged with those even though he’s a minor.


ejwme
Participant
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And keeping in mind that the county DA only got “the file” on the case about three weeks ago. The Mt Lebo PD might have been a little more prompt in turning over “the file” on this case than the Indiana PD.


quizbot
Participant
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Hopefully this is a good sign re: the weight of the charges that will be brought upon Don’s killer.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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as a bit of an anecdote, i was talking to an old couple who live in the mount lebanon, a few blocks from where the accident occurred, and they were pretty sure the lack of charges (this was days after it happened, mind you) were because the kid was moneyed. glad to see that doesn’t play much of a role (yet).


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Recall also that one of the key issues in the Dubois doctor’s case is that the police DIDN’T do a sobriety check on the driver.


edmonds59
Participant
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@tabby – “the drug/substance charges are all additional things that won’t apply to the Harts Run Road kid.” That’s a pretty broad assumption. I wonder if a toxicology test was even done, as Stu said, in the Dubois case. (Middle aged suburban cop would never assume that someone would be firing a spliff first thing in the am, right?)

@quizbot – It’s early but, you’re joking, right?


dwillen
Participant
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An update:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10252/1086298-100.stm

They’re allowing the driver to leave his electronic house arrest, travel to a different state and attend his $46,000/year school.


rsprake
Participant
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However, Judge Manning imposed additional conditions, including a curfew that requires Mr. Cope be in his dorm room from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. He also is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle and must return for a drug test at least once per month.

And he has shown such good judgement in the past…


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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To paraphrase a song, “Nice bail, if you can get it.”


ejwme
Participant
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HA – his bail is what he’s paying for “Advent Semester” in fees/tuition/books/room&board.

Interestingly enough, from his university’s own conduct page: “Students involved in misconduct (on or off campus) that leads to an arrest or citation may also be subject to penalties by the University.”

(source: http://www2.sewanee.edu/catalog_student_life/student_policies )

I’m sure he’s told the Dean of Students there about his conduct. Is there cooperation between PA and TN local LEOs?


dwillen
Participant
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Yea, being trapped in your dorm room is an awful situation. I’m sure all his pals will be greatly inconvenienced by moving the party to his room.


Nick D
Participant
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I am “calling BS” on the whole, “We just got the file,” because in July I spoke with an assistant DA who said he tried to get on the case when it came in but he was denied.


dwillen
Participant
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StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The retribution side of me is saying “Yay, finally.”

The cynical side of me is saying “What good will this do for deterrence?”

And another side of me is repeating what I said in the 2nd last post on Page 1 of this thread, that eventually this guy will be back on the street, probably w/o a license, and assuming he isn’t going to live in a cardboard box behind a row of trash cans sucking down booze for the rest of his life, will be trying to get back and forth to a job, minus a car.

Taking that a step further, how many people who are living in boxes got that way because of some screw-up in their lives long ago, and didn’t have a way to get to a job?


edmonds59
Participant
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Something that’s been bugging me since I saw him released from jail on bail – he did the walk out of the jail, in his nice suit, all alone. Even the slimiest scumbag criminal politician does that walk with his lawyer, somebody. Where has this young man’s family been during this whole thing? No statement, nothing? Are they just too afraid to be associated with their own child, or seen in public? They just signed off, gave him his money to go off to a far away college, and that’s it? This guy’s a grown man and responsible for himself, but WTF? It sounds like a root problem to me. God forbid either of my children ever end up in a situation like this, I wouldn’t defend them, but I would at least stand with them. The whole thing is just unbelievably sad.

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