Texting and/or surfing the internet while driving is considered to be far more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and tests have actually been conducted to prove this. Yet, that still hasn’t stopped many of us from continuing to do it, that is until something bad ends up happening, like it did for someone here locally that a close friend of mine knows.
It happened just over a year ago in Monroe County, Michigan. On a casual drive, a former Michigan State University basketball strength coach with no prior record chose to surf the internet and text a few people. Sadly, at some point shortly thereafter, he hit a car directly in front of him, while travelling at a speed of 78 mph, and in the process ended up killing a 35-year-old mother and her 5-year-old daughter who were the occupants of the vehicle he struck. While his defense argued profusely with evidence that he wasn’t doing either at the time of the accident, the court still threw the book at him issuing a sentence of 7 to 15 years with the first seven being mandatory.
I have done a tremendous amount of pondering about this man’s demise ever since my friend let me know the result of his court case and it has weighed quite heavily upon my heart. So many times, I myself have done the very same action of picking up my phone and quickly looking at something on the internet or feeling the need to respond to some text message or texting someone I suddenly thought of for whatever the reason. Several of those times in fact as a result, I have found myself coming close to hitting another car, but, thank God, I never did. So, in lieu of seeing how similar my own actions have been on the road, are actually no different than a man who’s now heading off to jail for at least 7 years, I know I need to change my driving ways immediately. I can’t in good conscious keep using my phone while operating my vehicle as I have been, because it’s only a matter of time where I too could end up causing a devastating and life-ending accident.
Frankly, I’m not sure I could ever live with myself if I ended up causing the death of another, nor would I probably survive having to live life behind bars either. In light of me saying that, I also know there is no amount of internet surfing or text messaging that is ever more important than protecting human lives. I truly feel sad for this man who’s now going to be spending many years locked up, because I’m pretty sure he thought like the rest of us that his internet surfing and texting was totally harmless while driving. But alas, his life has been instantly changed now because of it, simply due to the fact of thinking a message was that important to send or respond to and thinking that a quick internet search was critical to get done right then, all while driving. But it wasn’t and I’m sure he knows that now. Unfortunately, it’s too late.
Nevertheless, I don’t ever want to become that person on the primetime local news who has caused an accident and the death or critical injury of another, all because I opted to place my phone as a higher priority than controlling my vehicle. I’m sure all of you feel the same as well, as much as I’m sure this man is now living with serious regret and pain over a moment he can’t take back, one where using a phone while driving tragically led to the death of a mother and her child…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson