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The remedial legislation enacted or to be enacted by which all automobile owners will be compelled to do definite things would be passed, therefore, because of the action of 4,240 or 3,710 persons responsible for the evil. In this connection, it is illuminating to know that in Texas, for example, in 1925, the year from which the above statistics have been taken, there were at least 698,- 378 persons licensed to operate automobiles by that state alone. In this connection, it must be remembered, too, that a large percentage of the accidents were caused by persons licensed in other states. Find Cheap auto insurance Texas. And in the same year, there were 764,338 motor vehicles registered. Many of the accidents, too, were caused by automobiles not registered in Massachusetts. It would thus appear that because of the misdeeds of far less than one-half of 1 per cent of all those possibly affected all must be compelled to do something.
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Substituting dollars for jail cells as the penalty for reckless driving and motor vehicle law violations is sure to be one of the chief results of all compulsory automobile liability insurance legislation. When the end sought is reparation and indemnity it is altogether logical that prevention and punishment will become a subordinate objective in both the public and the official mind. The principle involved is, in most cases, the same as that which condones larceny when restitution is made.
The whole compulsory liability insurance scheme is, indeed, a twentieth century revival of the primitive custom of permitting the purchase of immunity for misdeeds. It advocacy is in effect a confession that our supposedly highly developed civilization cannot master the highway accident problem and that it is therefore necessary to revert to the legal code of barbaric tribes in which compensation was the established penalty for injuries and prevention through community enforced restraints was unknown. It is a throwback to the days when the law of crime as a public offense was in process of formation, one of those childish reversions to the archaic which strangely enough often characterize the plots and plans of the professional reformer of today.
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This code survives in remote corners of the world untouched by human progress. But among people who have contributed to the culture and civilization of this generation it has been in disuse for ten centuries. In Anglo-Saxon Britain before the Norman conquest nearly every wrong was righted by a fine paid to the injured persons. If a man was killed the slayer had to pay an amount known as the wer to the dead man s kin, the amount being determined by the victim s rank in society. In case of personal injuries and other flagrant wrongs the fine exacted in composition was known as the bot , and was paid directly to the person injured or damaged. Similar systems also existed in Celtic England before the Anglo-Saxon invasion and are to be found recorded in ancient Jewish and Babylonian law.