Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Were They Thinking.

In Western Australia there is a system whereby if you have your your driver's licence suspended for an offense and can prove exceptional hardship you can be given permission to drive in certain situation. For example if it is impossible for you to get to work any other way you might be permitted to drive to certain places at certain times of the day. Whether this is a good thing or not is sometimes questioned but personally I think keeping someone productively employed could qualify as a valid reason. One would assume that such cases would be rare and that the decision would be made only for those who were truly unable to travel any other way and would otherwise lose their job. At least that's how I assumed it would work. Apparently not.

Recently a young man lost his licence for a well reported series of offenses involving alcohol. Fair enough, you might say. I certainly thought so. It would cause him a degree of inconvenience that he might learn from but not jeopardise his employment. He could use buses and trains like the rest of us when he couldn't get a lift with his work mates. That's when we stepped out of the real world. He applied for a restricted licence because of hardship because he can't get to work.

His reason - he doesn't know how to catch public transport! What? Millions of people all over the world catch public transport every day - old, young, even school children - and he can't learn how to catch a bus! It gets worse. He - a strong, tall, fit man - doesn't feel safe waiting at a public bus stop at a well lit bus station in the early evening. Wait, there's more. He doesn't like to travel on public transport because people ask him about what happened.

So being presented with these bizarre reasons does the Court say 'Tough. Punishment is supposed to impact on your life so you will learn and not repeat the offense'? Nope. He's given permission to drive to training and games.

I'm astounded.

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