When must one hand in ones driving license?

A friend of a group of friends I belong to had the worst 2021 one could imagine. She lost her father, and just a few days before she had her first baby, her 28 year old sister died in a car accident. A horrible car accident that was caused by someone else. Someone who heard yesterday what his punishment will be. 

This girl, the sister of the friend, was very fond of playing soccer. She had a team with girls that she would do fun stuff with, she had two dogs she took care of, and one evening she was done with soccer practice to drive home, to her dogs, to sleep and go to work again the next day. If only it happened like it usually would, it would not have wrecked so many people’s lives. 

This girl did not come home, she took her last breath in a car on fire, or maybe when the other car hit her. The friend had to have her baby, still trying to deal with losing her sister just a few days before. Her mother, who had lost the love of her life just a few months before, had to deal with something no parent should ever have to deal with. Her daughter’s dogs now live with her, but often other people need to walk them, because she is struggling so much. We are one and half years later and still the devastation within this family is so big. Even though it is not a close friend of mine, it is hard to watch.

And it is hard to hear how this person who did all this, got sentenced. It keeps on playing in my mind for days, as I am pretty shocked about how we deal with these situations in this country. To understand how disappointing and shocking the judgment is, we will need to look at the situation on that fateful night. The 32-year old guy was drinking. His girlfriend even mentioned to him: please do not drive, you have had too much to drink. He did not listen though, apparently his work needed the car in the morning.

So he got into the car, having double the amount of alcohol in his body that is permitted. He drove at a road that allows cars to drive a maximum of 80 kilometers at a crazy speed of 170 kilometers an hour. Mind you, the roads where you may drive 80 kilometers an hour are usually pretty busy roads, with not a lot of room to move out of the way. Often farm roads that are really not inviting to drive that many kilometers an hour. But then again: only in a racing circuit is it a good idea to drive these speeds.

No one in their right mind would drive this fast. But apparently the judge found that this person was right in his mind. He even showed remorse for what he had done. Did he think about what would happen when he drove into my friend’s sister with that speed, causing her car to get to the other side of the road, getting hit by another car? The guy has spent 1,5 years incarcerated now, and he only needs one more year until he is free again. Just one. But that is not the worst thing. This guy may not drive a car for four years in total. Four years, and a crazy person like this can just step into a car again, speeding, being a threat to other people. 

I don’t get this. People around me have said: well, he may need a car for his job. Well, he should have thought of that before he stepped onto that pedal. “Why does he have to live with the burden of having to take a taxi or public transport everywhere?” Well, would he rather have the burden that the family of my friend have to deal with for the rest of their lives? I can’t believe it, how easily one gets away with this. Especially having been warned, knowing that he shouldn’t drive. Of course many people get into the car when they have one or two drinks too many. It happens, but wouldn’t you drive slowly rather than this fast? Especially when your girlfriend warns you about what you are about to do? I wonder what one has to do to actually have to hand in their driving license, cause if this is not one of those situations, I don’t know what is.


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