Judge declares the road is a chopping board.

There is a breed of murderers roaming free in Australia. They don’t number in the dozens like child killers, jihadist extremists, cannibals or serial killers. They don’t number in the hundreds like rapists, burglars, of beefed up king-hitters. In a country of 23 million, like Australia, I would estimate there to be close to one million, ready to kill at any time.

I’m referring to people with multiple driving offences, reflecting thought patterns as dangerous as those of a potential terrorist thinking about building a bomb. The difference is that where other criminally minded individuals can choose to put themselves in the path of temptation, the driver with murderous thought patterns cannot get to work without a factory-made, government approved, bomb in their hand.

Timothy Wayne Yole, who has since moved to Western Australia, had accrued a string of driving offences by age 26. If these were sex offences, he would be a prime candidate for chemical castration. But they were driving offences, so he was left to roam Tasmanian roads as a driver. Not just any driver. But one of that significant minority—I’ve said I think there are about a million of them in this country—who have told themselves that while ever they are in their own lane, and not travelling too much over the sign-posted speed limit, that anyone who comes in their way has chosen to die. Evidently, judges and the community values their sentences echo, see the road as a kind of chopping board too.

Less than a kilometre away from where I live, Timothy Wayne Yole killed Lewis Hendey who was riding his bicycle on the edge of Mr. Yole’s god-given lane. Yole has been given a suspended sentence (no gaol) and will not be allowed to drive now for a whole year and half, after which he will back on the road with the other one million. Clearly the judge ranks among them.

The most I personally hope for, is that future generations look back on this age the way we look back on the slave trade, or Rome’s Coliseum. They won’t talk about individual criminality or rates of recidivism — which is why I haven’t reposted Mr. Yole’s photo — but about an age when their ancestors put aside human logic and gave themselves over instead to the logic of totally unnecessary transport machines. By that time I hope cities will be compact and designed around cycling.

4 Comments

  1. Scott Aitch says:

    Like you, I live near the crash site and am shocked and bewildered by the soft sentence given to the offender. The vehicle operator (not a “driver”) had, at age 26, accumulated six convictions for driving offenses, including “driving without reasonable consideration for other road users”. The only real penalty given is loss of license for 18 months and a criminal record.

    I have turned the crash situation over in my mind, trying to make sense of it. The driver didn’t suffer from a medical condition and driving conditions were perfect on an excellent stretch of highway. His ute had no mechanical defects. The only logical explanation that I can conceive is that this was a 100km/h “punishment pass” that went wrong. If this is the case, then a harsh sentence and a lifetime driving disqualification is the only appropriate response.

    It seems that the lives of cyclists are considered worthless. In a workplace accident causing death or serious injury (in Tas), the maximum sentence given to an individual is $600,000 fine and five years gaol. We need similar sentences for killing or injuring vulnerable road users.

    • Steven says:

      The prospect of a “punishment pass” gone wrong is extremely chilling, but also quite plausible. He has misjudged the width of his ute while trying to miss the bike by mere inches. So here is the question: why don’t we hound him and make his life as unbearable as someones on a sex offenders registry? Should there be such a registry of murderous drivers? If not, what is the difference? Is it that we can’t prove this was an accident? Thanks for a thoughtful response.

  2. Luke says:

    I researched a few years ago legal cases about what “an accident” was. Historically there was a horrific acceptance about what was “just one of those things”, such as a stoker on a ship in the Suez Canal dying through heat exhaustion. Not an accident. Just an inevitable consequence of working on a ship in a hot place.

    A bit like accepting that a few pedestrians and cyclists die.

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