Ethics and driving(8 Posts)
I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask... does continually breaking the law in minor ways matter?
Please note I'm in Canada. I've just driven about 1500 km, mostly on motorways. The speed limit is 100 kph, and most people drive about 110-115. The police don't seem to object to that speed (we don't have speed cameras).
However, some people routinely drive at 130 and up, way above the limit. I saw one guy weaving thru traffic, who most have been going 150+.
My question is, in an ethical sense, does it matter? Okay, there is the chance of a fine, the chance of an accident, etc, but... what else?
And also, do routine speeders routinely break other rules of society in small ways?
Then again, it's entirely possible I'm an old fuddy-duddy.
I think it very much depends on the situation.
Eg, breaking the speed limit on a deserted road matters much less than breaking the limit on a busy high street.
Have you never copied a tape?
The law is there for a reason but we wouldn't be human if we didn't take a little chance now and then.
In an ethical sense it matters because ethics is about how we work out how to live a good life. If we live in societies with laws then working out why we might break those laws even if they seem silly means some reflection on why we're doing that and what the impact of doing that on ourselves and others might be.
I also do a lot of driving but obey the speed limits. This isn't just because I'm in the UK with loads of speed cameras but because I don't want to explain to my children that it is ok to break the law if you think that you can get away with it. So they can steal or not pay taxes or hurt someone as long as they don't get caught? It comes down to why break some laws and not others and what is your ethical bAsis for that decision? Utilitarianism? Virtue theory? A rule based system or the latest funky empathy based ethics? Cos everyone else is doing it seems a bit thin to me.
Driving like a maniac = arrogant bastard. There's no need. No one is that important.
Drag goes up as square of speed so you are using more fuel. Two fingers up to the next generation.
Most don't care.
Yes, but are all rules meant to be adhered to? Who decides all the rules? Yes, hopefully rules are made for the good of the majority, but sometimes they're made in despite of the majority, for the good of the few. You do what your gut tells you and stick with it, you'll not go far wrong.
Interesting question OP. My instinct would be what herat said. I know I break the speed limit often, though I try not to, and I try hard to judge when it is 'safe' (safer?) to do so - e.g. not speeding on residential roads, in heavy traffic etc. But like greenheart I certainly don't want my kids to think that it's ok to break the rules so long as you don't get caught. I do want my DC to be able to make moral choices though regardless of the law - so to give an extreme (but not impossible) example, if it became unlawful to house or feed a refused asylum seeker, then I would break that law myself and explain to the DC why in that instance I think it's ok to do so (perhaps not just ok but essential).
To go back to speeding then, I don't think the chances of getting caught should weigh in the balance, and I don't think anyone should drive dangerously, which most (or all) speeding is. But though going slightly over the limit in circumstances where you are not putting anyone at risk is wrong, for me, there are more important things to worry about. Which is obviously my way of feeling less guilty or trying to excuse something that I know I do, that I oughtn't. But in the grand scheme less wrong than say being deliberately unkind.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.