危険運転厳罰化 重大事故の撲滅につなげたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 26, 2013
Tougher penalties needed to curb deadly drivers
危険運転厳罰化 重大事故の撲滅につなげたい(4月25日付・読売社説)

Horrific accidents caused by drunk driving, unlicensed driving and other reckless driving seem to occur unceasingly. Planned harsher punishment of such practices must serve to prevent accidents.
 飲酒や無免許など悪質運転による重大事故が後を絶たない。厳罰化を事故抑止につなげたい。

The government has submitted a bill to the Diet to toughen penalties in cases of reckless driving. The bill is designed to take elements relating to reckless driving from the Penal Code, such as definitions of dangerous driving resulting in death or injury, and include them in a new law.
 政府は無謀運転の罰則を強化する法案を国会に提出した。危険運転致死傷罪などを刑法から抜き出し、独立した法律にするものだ。

The heart of the bill is the creation of new provisions on what may be called the offense of “quasi-dangerous driving.”
 法案の柱は、“準危険運転罪”と言える規定を新設した点だ。

One requirement for applying the charge of dangerous driving resulting in death or injury is a “state in which it is difficult for a person to conduct normal driving.” For example, the subject of the offense must be a person who caused an accident while driving a vehicle at uncontrollable speeds or in a state of extreme intoxication from alcoholic beverages or drugs. The maximum punishment is 20 years in prison.
 危険運転罪は「正常な運転が困難な状態」が適用要件だ。制御できないほどのスピードや飲酒・薬物の影響による酩酊(めいてい)状態で運転し、事故を起こした当事者が対象となる。最高刑は懲役20年だ。

However, it is quite difficult to accurately determine the exact driving speed or precise degree of intoxication at the time of an accident. For this reason, there have been many cases in which investigation authorities had to build their cases on suspicion of “negligent” rather than “dangerous” driving resulting in deaths or injuries. The maximum penalty for this offense is seven years in prison.
 だが、事故当時の速度や酔いの程度を確定するのは難しい。このため、捜査当局は、自動車運転過失致死傷罪で立件せざるを得ないケースが少なくない。最高刑は懲役7年にとどまる。

A great gap

The gap between the punishments for dangerous driving resulting in death or injury and for negligent driving resulting in death or injury is too large.
 危険運転罪と自動車運転過失致死傷罪の刑罰の差は大きすぎると言えよう。

In consideration of the feelings of bereaved families, who have demanded tougher punishments, it is understandable that the government intends to create regulations enabling a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
厳罰を求める遺族感情に配慮し、最高刑が懲役15年の規定を設けるのは理解できる。

The major problem with the new rules is ambiguity. If a driver was “in a state in which significant obstacles to normal driving might occur,” the person can be accused of the offense. However, the standards for defining the situations in which “significant obstacles to normal driving might occur” are not clear.
 問題なのは、新たな規定の適用要件があいまいなことだ。運転手が「正常な運転に支障が生じる恐れがある状態」であれば、罪に問えるが、「支障が生じる恐れ」の適用範囲が明確ではない。

The government needs to make the standards for applying the new rules easy for everyone to understand through Diet deliberations.
 政府は国会審議で、適用基準を分かりやすく示す必要がある。

Under the bill, accidents caused by the effects of medical conditions are designated as dangerous driving acts. The bill targets illnesses and symptoms that may disrupt consciousness, such as epilepsy, in response to a 2011 accident in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, in which the driver of a crane truck suffered an epileptic seizure behind the wheel and killed six primary school students.
 法案は、病気の影響で起きた事故も危険運転の対象とした。てんかんなど意識障害を招く疾病を想定している。栃木県鹿沼市で一昨年、クレーン車の運転手がてんかんの発作を起こし、児童6人を死亡させた事故を受けたものだ。

Epilepsy and other patients’ organizations strongly oppose the bill, saying it will invite discrimination against people with certain conditions. It is important for the government to carefully explain to such groups the intent of the bill, which is to prevent accidents.
 病気への差別を招くとして、患者団体は法案に強く反発している。政府は、事故抑止という趣旨を患者側に丁寧に説明することが大切だ。

Patients are also asked to voluntarily refrain from driving if they know they may suffer seizures.
患者側にも、発作などの危険がある場合、運転を控える自律性が求められよう。

The bill also includes a provision to put a heavier penalty on driving without a license. This was prompted by an accident a year ago in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, in which 10 people including primary school students were injured or killed by a car driven by an unlicensed driver.
 法案には、無免許運転に対し、罰をより重くする加重罪も盛り込まれた。京都府亀岡市で1年前、無免許運転の車が小学生ら10人を死傷させた事故がきっかけだ。

Frustrating explanation

The teenage boy arrested over this incident was found to have repeatedly driven a car without a license. Investigative authorities thus did not apply the dangerous driving charge, due to the judgment that “his driving technique was not underdeveloped.”
 この事故では、逮捕された少年が無免許運転を繰り返していたことから、「運転技術は未熟でなかった」として、捜査当局は危険運転罪を適用しなかった。

Yet even in the latest bill, the government did not include driving without a license as it judged it is insufficient to establish dangerous driving charges. Having no driving license cannot, by itself, prove the element of “difficulty of normal driving,” according to the government.
 今回の法案でも、無免許運転を危険運転罪に組み込むことは見送られた。無免許だけでは、「正常な運転が困難」との適用要件を満たせないためだという。

There must be many people who are frustrated with such an explanation. How to deal with reckless unlicensed drivers is a subject that demands further discussion.
 釈然としない思いを抱く人は多いだろう。無謀な無免許運転の扱いは、今後の検討課題である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 25, 2013)
(2013年4月25日01時45分 読売新聞)

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srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク

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