Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

An ethical question for you

Sorry for the blog silence today, but I've been working on deadline and, 13 hours into my work day, I'm still working. However, I thought I'd take a break and pose an ethical question for you all. I'm genuinely seeking an answer here. I just learned that one of my Mom's elderly friends, who last took a driver's test about two years ago, is blind in one eye and has a significant cataract in the other eye. He's also a self-described bipolar personality, who suffers severe, uncontrollable rages. My question is, should I notify the Motor Vehicle Department that issued him the license? There are a few wrinkles that need to be considered: 1. All my information about his condition is second or third hand (meaning that it comes first from my mother, and may come to her through the man's wife). 2. If I notify the DMV, even if I do it anonymously, he'll almost certainly figure out that the information originated with my mother, potentially destroying a friendship. 3. I have no information that he's had any accidents in the past. Frankly, if my mother's information is correct -- and she's pretty reliable at ferreting out and retaining information -- I find it very disturbing that he's still driving. I recognize his need for independence, but it's very selfish (and quite possibly unethical) of him to put not only himself at risk -- after all, he's free to make that decision) -- but everyone else on the road at risk too. On the other hand, it's rotten to be a busybody; it's rotten to sic the government on people; and it's rotten (and quite possibly unethical) to run the risk of siccing the government on someone using potentially inaccurate information. What would you do?