People who are at fault in significant local transportation accidents can expect to suffer more than death, injury or guilt. They can count on self-proclaimed safe drivers attacking them on Internet comment boards.
Four tragedies in the Top of Utah this summer caused heated reader rumbles on Standard.net.
Exhibit one: An elderly woman driver turned left in front of a motorcyclist on 12th Street. The biker was severely injured. On the Standard.net story comment board, motorcycle activists blasted the woman. A relative of the woman posted an apology for the accident, but that only inflamed the bikers to more vicious heights.
Second, after two recent Ogden Canyon accidents in which several local teenagers died, several critics poured invective and insults on the teens. A few comments included blanket condemnations of “Mexican” drivers. The argument spiraled into the unrelated illegal immigration controversy.
Now comes the case of a Davis County man who was killed by a Frontrunner train Monday night after he drove onto the tracks, around the crossing barrier. It didn’t take long before comments were posted by people assailing the man for having put train passengers’ lives at risk.
One such mind-reading, venomous analysis: “So why was he willing to put so many other lives at risk (train operators, passengers and bystanders) just because he felt he was too important to wait?”
Obviously, frustration and anguish are understandable. Most people don’t have much patience for bad drivers. The lack of tolerance goes up when blatantly dangerous behaviors are involved, such as canyon speeding and rail crossing violations. But I think it’s heartless and serves no constructive purpose to rain down vicious invective, especially while the bodies are still warm and families on all sides are grieving.