危険運転処罰法 悲惨な事故減らす「抑止力」に

The Yomiuri Shimbun December 2, 2013
Stronger penalties against dangerous driving must help deter road tragedies
危険運転処罰法 悲惨な事故減らす「抑止力」に(12月1日付・読売社説)

A new law—the law on penalties for injury or death inflicted by motor vehicle operators—has been enacted to make punishments stiffer against such reckless, serious driving offenses as drunk driving.
 酒酔いなど、悪質な運転で死傷事故を起こした際の刑罰を重くする自動車運転死傷行為処罰法が成立した。来年5月までに施行される。

The law, which will take effect in May 2014, should serve as a turning point in reducing the number of victims in traffic accidents caused by dangerous driving.
 危険運転による事故の犠牲者を減らす契機としたい。

The enactment of the law means the revamping of the judicial system regarding dangerous driving. Stipulations in the Penal Code regarding “penalties against dangerous driving resulting in injury or death” have been separated in the new law and the sphere of application has been expanded significantly.
 今回の立法措置は、危険運転に関わる法体系を見直したものだ。刑法の危険運転致死傷罪を新法に移し、適用範囲を広げた。

Under the Penal Code, a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment for injury or death due to dangerous driving, such as under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was handed down only when it could be substantiated that the driver was “in a state in which the ability to safely operate a vehicle is seriously impeded” at the time of an accident.
 最高刑が懲役20年の危険運転致死傷罪は、飲酒や薬物摂取で、運転手が「正常な運転が困難な状態」であることが適用条件だ。

Judging whether a driver’s ability was “seriously impeded” was extremely difficult for law-enforcement authorities, and dangerous driving cases under the Penal Code were strictly limited to offenses when the driver was totally inebriated.
 しかし、「困難な状態」だったかどうかの線引きは難しく、泥酔状態での運転など立件されるケースは限られていた。

This resulted in drivers—regardless of the grave accidents they caused—facing the lesser charge of “negligence resulting in injury or death,” the maximum penalty for which is seven years in prison.
Many victims and bereaved families understandably criticized the law as far too lenient.
 悪質な運転にもかかわらず、懲役7年の自動車運転過失致死傷罪となることが多く、被害者側は刑罰が軽すぎると批判していた。

The new law will make it possible to expand the definition of dangerous driving when an accident is caused by a person behind the wheel whose “ability to drive normally is impeded.” Driving offenses in this category are subject to prison sentences up to 15 years.
 新法は、「正常な運転に支障が生じる恐れ」でも危険運転致死傷罪を適用可能とした。この場合、最高刑は懲役15年となる。

The creation of a penalty falling between seven and 20 years’ imprisonment can be called a step forward.
懲役20年と7年の中間的な刑罰を設けたのは、一歩前進と言えよう。

Stop hit-and-run deceptions

The Justice Ministry believes the new stipulations can be applied to an accident caused by a person driving who is slightly drunk. It is important to ensure the new law is publicized widely to deter dangerous driving.
 法務省は、酒気帯び運転の事故にも、新たな規定が適用できるとの見解を示している。ドライバーに新法を周知し、危険運転の抑止につなげることが重要だ。

A new punishment of up to 12 years in prison has been created under the law in an effort to stop drivers from fleeing the scene of an accident and turning themselves into police later when indications of drunkenness have worn off. Allowing such hit-and-run drunk drivers to turn themselves in later after sobering up would deprive the new law of the effectiveness of the tougher penalties. Police must clamp down on such offenses.
 飲酒運転などで事故を起こした運転手の逃走行為を罰する「発覚免脱罪」(懲役12年以下)も新設された。酔いがさめてから出頭するような逃げ得を許しては、厳罰化の効果が失われる。積極的に立件してもらいたい。

Also characteristic of the new law is that drivers with “certain ailments” are now subject to penalties for dangerous driving resulting in injury or death.
 「特定の病気」で運転に支障が生じた場合を危険運転致死傷罪の対象としたのも、新法の特徴だ。

This stipulation was inserted in the new law after the driver of a crane truck suffered epileptic seizures in Tochigi Prefecture in 2011, killing six children.
栃木県でクレーン車の運転手がてんかん発作を起こし、児童6人を死亡させた事故を教訓とした。

A list of specific ailments subject to the punishment is expected to be worked out by government ordinance. In compiling the list, sufficient consideration must be paid to patients’ groups and others who fear prejudices toward certain conditions might be aggravated because of the planned ordinance.
 具体的な病名は今後、政令で定める。病気に対する偏見の助長を懸念する患者団体などの声に十分配慮することが求められる。

The law also includes heavier penalties against accidents caused by anyone driving without a license.
 新法には、無免許運転による事故の刑罰をより重くする規定も設けられた。

In 2012, a boy driving a minivan killed or injured 10 people in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture. It was later learned that the boy had frequently driven without a license.
 京都府亀岡市で昨年、少年が軽自動車で児童ら10人を死傷させた。以前から無免許運転を繰り返していた。

In this case, the prosecution failed to apply charges of dangerous driving resulting in injury or death because the boy could not be considered “lacking in driving skills.”
検察は「運転技術は未熟ではない」として、危険運転致死傷罪の適用を見送った。

Public criticism subsequently mounted against the prosecution for failing to punish him severely in spite of his driving without a license.
 無免許でありながら、厳罰に問えないことが問題となった。

Even under the new law, however, cases similar to the one in Kameoka cannot be covered by the penalty against dangerous driving resulting in injury or death unless a driver is drunk or high on drugs.
 だが、飲酒や薬物摂取がなければ、新法でも亀岡市のようなケースは危険運転致死傷罪に問えない。

Even after the implementation of the new law, there should be further discussions about what penalties are considered adequate for driving without a license.
悪質な無免許運転の刑罰について、施行後も議論が必要だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2013)
(2013年12月1日02時14分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-12-03 08:26 | 英字新聞

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