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Unanswerable questions

Why does it take 20 minutes to put Aiden down for a nap, but an hour and a half to put him down at night?

Which is worse, ethically speaking: causing an accident due to intoxication, or causing an accident due to obliviousness?


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
I'd go with intoxication, because you have to make a decision to get intoxicated followed by another decision (however impaired) to get behind the wheel. Where with obliviousness, well... we all space out from time to time. Less intent there.
Jun. 29th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Can the person be said to be as responsible for the second (impaired) decision?

What about driving while upset, tired, angry, on the phone, etc. - things that happen every day, but 99+% of the time don't lead to accidents?

And of course there's the question of the degree of intoxication. One drink too many and misjudging your own tolerance is on some level different than getting utterly smashed and going joyriding.

And then there's the matter of training. We're trained not to get behind the wheel if we've been drinking; but we're also trained to watch the road, leave distance between cars, stay focused, etc. An intoxicated driver is ignoring one rule, whereas an oblivious driver is ignoring dozens.

The ethical picture may also change depending on what happens afterwards - does the driver change their habits as a result?

Ethical dilemmas can never be answered in black and white. Too much "depends".
Jun. 29th, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
True -- but it's harder to pinpoint the cause of obliviousness, so it's hard to say what rules were being ignored. There's a whole lot of depends there.

The gal who hit us apparently just didn't notice that we were slowing and turning. But she was horrified, and I think it's pretty likely that since she was so young, it's going to be an important lesson and behavior change for her. I hope so, at any rate.

On the nap/bedtime thing: I bet he knows which is which, and that at bedtime it will be a really long time before he gets to see you/play/etc., so he puts it off as much as possible. Where for a nap, he knows it won't be long, so no big deal.
Jun. 29th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Pondering a bit more, often the intoxicated driver is ignoring many of the same rules that the oblivious one is.

The second decision -- much of the time when you make the first decision, you're doing it knowing that that second decision is going to have to be made. It does happen that someone will have several drinks at home and then discover some lack that requires a trip to the grocery store despite the intoxication, but that's significantly less common.
Jun. 29th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Well, we're not told not to drive while 'having had one too many for our ability to handle it.' ...we're told not to drink and drive. :P We all know the law(s)... it's not a big mystery. Friends of mine who drive after 'just one' deserve the DUI as much as ones who drive after ten- it's just the ones who have had ten are more likely to have a catastrophic accident, like driving onto the wrong side of the road entirely. :/

Sometimes, things DO "depend..."

But when it comes to drinking and driving, if you have even ONE drink, you know you're breaking the law- taking a risk. Every drink after that, is just digging a grave deeper. :( More trouble can happen, but it's still against the law.
Jun. 30th, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
I know you're talking about "ethical responsibility", but just as a side note, "legal responsibility" varies from state to state, but mostly boil down to "if you broke the law and that law breaking created an accident, you're at falt." So driving angry doesn't make you responsible--but driving fast because you're angry does.

As to ethical responsibility--I'd still have to go with intoxicated being worse than obliviousness.

"An intoxicated driver is ignoring one rule, whereas an oblivious driver is ignoring dozens." Because the intoxicated driver is also chemically oblivious (hence, "intoxicated"), the intoxicated driver is going to break just as many rules as the oblivious one.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 29th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
See my comment to emmacrew above :)

And why would the latter be more forgivable? One is a misjudgement - one is a misallocation of resources. What's the fundamental difference?

Fascinating questions.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 29th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
I was raised to believe in 'risk management'... by teaching me to manage the risks I tok in life, they were also planting a subtler message- even an /accident/ can be affected by your choices. You can sometimes avoid them, and you can certainly lessen (or enlarge!) your chances of how bad the outcome is.

My outcome in a traffic accident are likely to be better than some because I wear a seat belt, for example, and drive defensively. I do not drink and drive, and I obey both traffic laws and the basics of common sense... that STILL won't /prevent/ an accident! :P Those happen despite all precautions. I can't control how someone ELSE drives!

I think personal responsibility is awesome, because it puts you back into control again.
Jun. 29th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I think obliviousness when caused by cell phone is just as bad as alcohol intoxication.

Jun. 30th, 2008 07:58 am (UTC)
Why does it take 20 minutes to put Aiden down for a nap, but an hour and a half to put him down at night?
Takes longer to fall asleep at night because he just took a nap that afternoon. :-)
Jun. 30th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Which is worse, ethically speaking: causing an accident due to intoxication, or causing an accident due to obliviousness?

I don't think that causing an accident due to 'obliviousness' is an ethical breach. I think it's an accident and a mistake. I don't know anyone who hasn't made driving errors, myself included. I'm very happy to have never caused an accident, *knocks wood* but I very nearly did once. I was paying attention to the road; I was not on the phone; I was not mad or upset or even singing along with the radio ... yet I still missed something that could have gotten someone killed had I been less fortunate. But it wouldn't have been due to my ethically poor behavior - it would have been an accident; a miss; a most unfortunate mistake.

I've been rear-ended three times (twice while waiting at stoplights and once when I stopped in time for a big 20+ vehical fatal accident on I-5 and then was hit from behind by three cars who failed to stop in time, completely totaling my truck). I've also had my drivers door caved in twice while it was parked - once while I was sitting in my car and hitting the horn to try to get the truck driver to see me, sigh. But I don't think any of those drivers were unethical. I can't even understand that premise. They were just inattentive; it was a momentary lapse of judgement that caused some pain and great expense.

Why does it take 20 minutes to put Aiden down for a nap, but an hour and a half to put him down at night?
Maybe he's ready for a nap in the afternoon but not ready to go to bed at 7 in the evening?

Jun. 30th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Unless "unanswerable" means "rhetorical", I'll chime in on the "20 minutes versus 90 minutes" question and say yeah, maybe time to skip the nap or adjust it so that it's more in the middle of his day.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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