Monday, February 22, 2010

Study: The Most Crash-Prone Drivers in Society are Judges, Attorneys

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According to a recent study, the most crash-prone motorists in American society are judges and attorneys. The study, conducted by, found that 44% of all judges/attorneys shopping for auto insurance claimed to be in a prior crash.

One theory, offered by Vice President Sam Belden, is that “Professions that demand multi-tasking – being on the phone, moving fast on a tight schedule – are prone to more distractions and, from there, more accidents.”

The least dangerous drivers by profession are athletes, at 17%.

If many judges are likely to engage in distracted driving then it seems reasonable to suspect that those judges may be sympathetic, even in the court of law, to other motorists who also engage in distracted driving. Judges like to depict themselves as mechanical interpreters of the law. However, they're only human and if they engage in a behavior similar to that of the defendant, it seems more likely that they will rule softer on the defendant than a judge who makes a strict personal effort to not engage in the behavior of the defendant.

It would be interesting to read an academic study that further delved into this particular subject. The weakest part of this study is that the results are based purely on reported crashes. It could be that judges and attorneys are more likely to report their crashes than the average person.

However, there is plenty of evidence that judges in the U.S. are soft on inattentive, distracted, negligent, reckless, and lethal driving. Perhaps, that's because, as the above study indicates, judges and attorneys get into more crashes than any other profession, and, as a result, can relate to defendants who share a similar problem.

One example of a judge normalizing inattentive, distracted, negligent, reckless, and lethal driving is represented in the case of San Diego motorist Arthur Newman who was driving in the bike lane where he struck cyclist Walter Joller from behind and killed him. Newman received no jail time; only probation and a mere $700 fine!

If that ruling isn't soft on lethal driving, then I don't know what is.

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