Editor, The News:
Re: Sights set on distracted drivers (The News, March 23).
No one wants to appear opposed to fairness. But sometimes fairness, in the context of financially punitive consequences, lacks in evenly applied justice.
Someone once said: ‘let the punishment fit the crime.’ But perhaps the punishment need not only fit the crime, but should fit the impact, as well. After all, impact, and therefore deterrent, is the goal.
Fines are, by their very nature, inequitable, especially by the yardstick by which they seek to cause introspective and self-modifying injury.
On the face of it, it appears to be fair that if there is a fine for, say, texting at the wheel, and all of us who do that must pay, say, $167 for that transgression, applicable to everyone, there is fairness. More than that, the danger to the public is equally evident whether the texter is driving a ’94 Toyota or a 2016 Lambo.
But a $167 fine for someone who grosses $20,000 a year is a much more punitive penalty than it is for someone who makes $200,000. Taken the other way, it means that rich folks are more gently treated than poor ones. Why should rich folks suffer less than poor folks for the same crime in our wonderfully enlightened society?
I suggest that fines be imposed on the basis of a percentage of annual income and financial resources. So in the sentencing stage of such cases, income tax returns, perhaps, should be part of the decision process.
A revolutionary thought, to be sure, and would impose much more inconvenience to the transgressor of whatever means.