A Privilege Or Manslaughter?
TEXTING AND DRIVING
A PRIVILEGE OR MANSLAUGHTER?
June 7, 2012
I can’t and I won’t apologize for this piece, but I have to get something off of my chest.
Last night I heard about a young man who was sentenced to 2 and a half years in jail (prison?) for killing a 55 year old grandfather while driving and texting on his cell phone. This is a landmark ruling as far as this subject is concerned. Many states have outlawed texting while driving, and some have even outlawed cell phone use all together while driving.
(Side note: I heard this morning that the man, 18 years old I believe, has been sentenced to only one year of incarceration, so I don’t know what’s up.)
Not only was this person sentenced to jail (or prison), but his drivers license has been suspended for fifteen years.
I personally am strongly against texting and driving, and I still haven't made my mind up on the talking part. But c’mon, people. Trying to text while driving is absurd. When I went through driver’s training you were supposed to have both hands on the wheel (preferably) at the 10 and 2 o’clock position. I know people don’t drive that way after they get their license, but I’m just trying to make a point. Would you have gotten your license if you were texting or talking on your cell while your driving instructor was sitting next to you?
I don’t think so.
So I’m listening to this news program this morning, the same one that said he was sentenced to one year, and they asked viewers their opinions on this sentence. One man commented, and I quote: “What’s this young man supposed to do? Will he have to catch a ride to work for 15 years? Why didn’t they just suspend his cell phone privileges for 15 years?”
I’m sorry, sir, but you are a complete moron.
This ‘kid’ killed another human being. And why? Because he wasn’t paying attention to his driving and decided to risk his own life and others because his phone call was so important?
This makes me sick.
How can anybody text and drive safely? They can’t. It's that simple.
I don’t drive. I can and I used to, but for reasons I won’t mention, I simply don’t. And yes, if I wanted to, I could. But being a pedestrian and living in a state where texting and driving is still legal, I’m scared for my life every time I walk down the sidewalk or cross a street.
But here’s what makes me angry. How can this moron ‘worry’ about this kid’s ability to get to work? Where is his sympathy for the victim’s family? Or the victim himself?
(Another note: the kid himself did apologize to the victim’s family, even though he pled ‘not guilty’ and said he wasn’t texting; he was just tired. However, his cell phone records showed that he was texting just one minute before the accident, and there was testimony that he might have erased other records. Hmm.)
In a nutshell, it’s negligent homicide, although I believe he was convicted of manslaughter. Either way, it’s criminal, and he should have been punished accordingly, which he was.
Other viewers who share my opinion said he should have gotten a longer sentence. I won’t go into that.
My point: what’s happening to this world? Where did this moron come from? I know he’s only one person, but I’ve heard a lot of idiotic arguments over a lot of other ‘no-brainer’ issues in the last year, and I’m really beginning to wonder about our society. There are still people in this world who don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened, even when presented with solid evidence thrust in their face.
How can people be so damn stupid?
And how long is it going to take for our lawmakers to open their eyes to this lunacy?
I’m putting this out here for other opinions on this cell phone issue. Do you think texting and driving should be outlawed? And if so, should the person be incarcerated if they take a life? For how long?
Or are you someone who believes that their cell phone privileges should just be suspended?
Or (God forbid!) taken away forever?
I’d really like some feedback on this, whether you agree with me or not.
Thanks for reading this, and if you’d like me to, I’ll try to review one of your pieces, regardless of whether or not I agree with you. But if this saves just one single life, it's been well worth it.
One reviewer's comments:
Hey well.....you're certainly preaching to my choir.
And unfortunately, it may take many more cases of this nature before many of the folks who need a wakeup call begin to see the light.
Straight and simple: it is driving while being distracted.
I'm aware of that every time I reach down for my travelin' coffee cup, or light up a smoke, or increase the volume on my car radio.
The psychology of the cell....is rather fascinating, in a sick sort of way.
My mobile phone is just that: a phone, which I ignore all the time, until I need it, and the conditions are appropriate to use it.
I consider this to be an adult attitude. (strong emphasis on "adult.")
But for many (and in an ever-increasing age span!) that "smart" thing is their very life.
And though they don't want to admit it....they are just as addicted to it as I am to nicotine and caffeine. With just as deadly (if not more so) possible results.
So I ponder the psychology of it.
If a driver texts while driving......a thousand times and survives nicely - they come to regard it as low-risk.
Only fools out there who are not so "adept" at this multi-tasking get into trouble.
But they're no fools.....or so they think.
They begin to take pride in their "ability."
(The pride that goeth before the fall.)
My life as an avatar.
My existence is more 'in there' than out here. 'In there'.....is what defines me.
Without that presence, I simply don't exist. I am a pale shadow. I am 'the other.'
I'm just not 'cool.'
Driving a car and not doing anything else but drive a car....is boring. I need something extra, to help my short little attention span along.
Ever watch a baby? Howl for attention?
That's because they have precious little ability to do anything to distract themselves from the reality of their existence. So the people around them help them out a little, with that problem.
Babies don't drive cars.
The thought of that is just ludicrous.
For far too many of us - our brains have not caught up with the 'wonders' of our technology.
The kind that seduces common sense right out of us.
O god! Not that! Don't take my phone!
My bottle! My blankie! My life! My love!
Um.....it's just a toy. Really.
A toy is all it ever really is..............
When we graduate to a driver's license......to just what sense of social responsibility have we come to embrace?
And by all of that, do we come to know ourselves.
end of rant.
Glad you posted this!
Another reviewer's comments and links:
While your emotional argument clearly portrays the problem, I think you could strengthen your position by providing some of the vast research concerning this issue. For example, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute determined that “text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted,” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that “in 2010 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,092 people killed.”