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How many chances should drivers get before they kill?

By David Bonnici, 21 Sep 2020 Car Opinions

How many chances should drivers get before they kill?

He was banned from driving eight times, but should Mark Dimech have been allowed back behind the wheel to take the life of a young Melbourne mother?

A Melbourne man who lost control of a Ferrari killing a young mother had previously lost his licence eight times for speeding offences. Which begs the question: at what point does a person prove themselves dangerously unworthy of holding a driver's licence?

Mark Dimech, 48, was last week jailed after admitting to dangerous driving causing death after crashing a Ferrari 360 Spider while travelling in a convoy of exotic cars in July 2017.

Dimech, who was driving in a convoy of exotic cars through Victoria's Dandenong Ranges, lost control of the yellow Ferrari while negotiating a bend at almost twice the 45km/h advisory speed. He veered across to the wrong side of the road and collided with a Ford Falcon XR8. His passenger and girlfriend, Rebecca Carkagis, 33, died at the scene and two people in the Falcon were injured.

MORE: We need to rethink the way drivers are fined for speeding

The court heard that prior to the crash, Dimech had received nine speeding tickets resulting in his license being suspended seven times and cancelled once - in Victoria you can apply to the Magistrate's Court to have a cancelled licence reinstated.  

Ferrari F360 Spider
Should Dimech have been allowed at the wheel of a car like a Ferrari 360 Spider after so many driving bans?

He received a custodial sentence of three years and eight months and will be eligible for parole in two years and two months. All his licences and permits were cancelled and disqualified for three years.

In sentencing Dimech, County Court Judge Amanda Fox said she accepted he was “genuinely remorseful” and had acknowledged the young mother's death was his responsibility.

MORE: You shouldn't be driving if you can't stay clear of cyclists

She said he showed good prospects for rehabilitation, adding that any sentence would likely deter him from re-offending.

We hope that is the case, but hasn’t the horse already bolted?

Seven licence suspensions and a cancellation failed to deter him from re-offending, so should he have been allowed to drive and offend again with such tragic consequences?

And if you accept that a life ban is too harsh, should he have been allowed at the wheel of such a high-performance vehicle? P-platers aren’t allowed to drive vehicles above a certain power to weight ratio, so why can’t such restrictions be applied to habitual dangerous drivers?

What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.