Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank goodness Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz would never do this ..... would he?

Car-loving Rob Ford sets a bad example for all drivers
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mayor Rob Ford drives out of the CP24 parking lot after a one-on-one interview with CP24, July 22, 2011. (Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star)

Earlier this week, Toronto mayor Rob Ford was caught talking on his cellphone while driving by a concerned citizen who was accompanied by her 6-year-old daughter.

There are two issues here that need to be dealt with. One is breaking the law and the other is leading by example.

Simply put, the mayor should have known better. Anyone who willfully talks on a cellphone while driving, or is engaged in other distractions, is putting other motorists and themselves at great risk.

More: How I broke my own rule on distracted driving
More: Should speeding cops be above the law?

Having said that, since the mayor admitted to breaking the law and there were two witnesses in this case, why is he not being charged under our Highway Traffic Act?

There is no excuse for talking on a hand-held cellphone while you’re behind the wheel. No phone call while driving, other than to report a crime to 911, is worth putting any citizen’s life in danger. It does not matter how busy you might think you are, the risk of injuring or killing someone is simply not worth it.

The mayor knows it is against the law, there are witnesses, and he admits to the infraction. Therefore, he should be charged and handed a $155 ticket for distracted driving. Plain and simple.

No one is above the law, not even mayor Ford.

Not charging the mayor is setting quite the precedent. Fellow motorists charged with distracted driving now have good reason to wonder, “If the mayor of Toronto can do it and get away with it, why can’t I?”

The other issue that needs to be dealt with is that of “setting a good example”. Any public leader worth his salt leads by example.

Mayor Rob Ford has set two very bad examples for the citizens of Toronto.

One. By his actions, the mayor is saying it is sometimes okay to break the law and that the HTA does not apply to him, just the commoners of Toronto.

Two. When caught and confronted by a concerned citizen, simply dismiss the whole thing by “flipping the bird”, as he is alleged to have done in this case. When caught breaking the law, shirk your civic responsibilities and confront the accuser by escalating the matter with a rude gesture. A simple apology would’ve worked.

Either way, this was no way for a public servant to behave in public. The mayor should have known better and we certainly hope he thinks twice next time before pulling out his cellphone behind the wheel.

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