What is the Value of a Human Life?

Today, on what was to be my first 60 minute run in over a month, I got hit by a car that neglected to slow down enough upon approach at a crossroad. Instead of coming to a full stop at the red octagon the driver decided to continue with a rolling right turn. He also decided not to employ his eyes. It was the first time in my 22 years that I thought I was actually going to die.

I had almost crossed the street when I felt the car clip my heel. And heard the car continuing to drive. The driver didn’t stop until I had launched into the longest thrill of more profanity that I have uttered in a very long time. When he finally stopped the vehicle he remained dismissive – not bothering to roll down a window until I pounded on it. Even then he only rolled down the window of his driver side to yell at me, “Are you stupid?!?!?”. A few seconds later, he drove off.

I have never cut a run short due to traffic incidents. I have also never filed a police report. Tonight, I did both of those things.

The lack of remorse shown by the driver was scary. Coming to a full stop at a stop sign, or even just slowing down a bit more, would have only cost the driver a maximum of 5 seconds but he neglected to do so. The lack of remorse he showed showcases that he thought that extra 5 seconds was worth more than my life.

So what is a human life worth? Apparently less than 5 seconds.

And in terms of monetary value? The minimum wage in Ontario is $11.25, the value of that 5 seconds is just under 2 cents. Apparently my life was valued by the driver to be less 2 cents. 

My parents have a different view. My father told me that next time I should just wait the extra 10+ seconds for that car that is half a street back to complete it’s trajectory, because my life is worth more than 10 seconds.

With a glass of wine, the ingredients for a squash beef stew, and a half-finished weekly report in front of me I’m just wondering why is it that human life is measured terms such as time and monetary costs.  I mean, my mom thinks I’m priceless.

Now I don’t know if the culprit of today’s events was under the influences, but with the holiday season approaching, I would like to urge all my driver friends out there to drive carefully and please don’t drink and drive – please drink responsibly.

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