Repeat drunk driver David Weaving is serving a 10-year manslaughter sentence for hitting 14-year-old Matthew Kenney on his bike and killing him in Connecticut. Now Weaving is suing the Kenneys for letting Matthew ride his bike on the street. [AP]
While this particular case is obviously nothing but frivolous litigation, it does make evident a very common problem.
In most states, pedestrians have 100% universal right of way, and if you hit one, you have committed manslaughter. This sounds entirely reasonable in practice, but one visit to a college town on a football Saturday is all it takes to show how useless this law really is.
It doesn't matter how sober you are, , what you're driving, or even the prevailing weather conditions: If a drunken frat boy stumbles in front of your car on a 35mph road, he's dead. No amount of driver skill or clever engineering will save him. It's simply impossible to stop two tons of mass in ten feet.
I live smack dab in the middle of UW Wisconsin @ Madison. I don't drink, I have no criminal record, and I have a clean license (no moving violations!) And if some joker decides to cross without looking both ways, I'm going to jail for a long, long time.