Yet Another Reason You Shouldn’t Text and Drive
We all know the real reason you shouldn’t text and drive is because you can die, or even kill someone and live to regret it forever.
But believe it or not there are other reasons you shouldn’t text and drive, and I just went through the process of finding out in excruciating detail what one of those reasons is.
A Little Backstory
My son Brady had fallen off the monkey bars at school and hit his head. The school said he was acting a little loopy, so we were worried of course. Jackie was picking up our other boy from his school about 20 miles away, so I jetted over to Brady’s school to check up on him and see how he was doing.
After getting some water and resting for a few minutes he seemed to be acting ok, so I loaded him into that sweet Hyundai 4-door that I drive and we were on our way to my office until Jackie could pick him up.
About 5 miles down the freeway, I heard my phone ding. I glanced down and it was a text from Jackie, trying to find out how Brady was doing. She was worried about him, so I picked up my phone and started to type a reply.
He’s doing fine. I’m taking him ba… *SIRENS EVERYWHERE*
There weren’t really sirens everywhere, but a highway patrolman had pulled up next to me and started wagging his finger at me. Then he flipped on his lights and pulled me over.
I knew what I had done was wrong. I didn’t even try and justify it. I owned it. I immediately felt bad. I was given a ticket and went on my way.
Fast forward through the part of the story where Brady chastised me incessantly for texting and driving, and basically called me a deadbeat dad.
Shit Got Real
I called the county after their mandatory five day waiting period. I expected to find out what my fine was, pay my ticket, and be on my way.
Instead I was greeted with “you’re required to appear in court. You’ll receive a letter with details about your court date and what you can expect.”
“No ma’am, you don’t understand. The ticket is for texting and driving.”
“Yes, I know what the ticket is for.”
“Yeah, so I just need to know what my fine is so I can pay it.”
“You’re required to appear in court. The details will be in the letter you receive in the mail.”
Along with my request to appear in court, I received all sorts of super enticing offers from local law firms. Clearly the most reputable in their respective fields.
My court day came and went. The Judge was out sick twice. I showed up both of those days, but sending a text or email to let a criminal lowlife like me know that I didn’t need to appear in court seems like a real waste of time.
[Insert rant about the inefficiency of our Judicial system]
[Insert additional rant about wearing a suit three times when no one even died]
The Big Day
Today I appeared in court. For those of you who haven’t gone through that experience, I highly discourage it. Living the life of a common criminal like myself just isn’t worth it.
I showed up at 8:20am for a 9:00am court appearance. I wanted to be extra early, just so I could be in and out as soon as possible.
I was the first person in line, and the first person to submit my paperwork.
The judge showed up at 9:30.
I was the 10th person to appear.
So at 10:15 I finally had the opportunity to make my plea.
Aside: The person who was first to appear beat up his wife, and the person right in front of me was using meth while driving. My people.
“Ryan, do you understand your rights as they’ve been read to you?”
“I do, your honor”
“And do you understand that you’ve been charged with texting and driving?”
“I do, your honor.”
“And do you understand that texting and driving is a Class B misdemeanor in the state of Utah? With a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine?”
My Brain: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU WHAT?!
Assault, resisting arrest, DUI, reckless driving, possession of marijuana under one ounce, possession of drug paraphernalia, shoplifting (under $300), trespass of a dwelling, public nuisance, concealed weapon, and many traffic offenses.
Those are all examples of Class B misdemeanors according to Utah State courts.
My Brain: I definitely understand the gravity of texting while driving. I really do. I even installed an app that disables my keyboard when my car moves. I promise, your honor, I’m a changed man! Don’t throw me in the slammer!
“How do you plea, Mr. Sullivan?”
“No contest, your honor.”
“What were you texting?”
“I was telling my wife that our boy who fell off of the monkey bars at school was ok. And I’m not going to do this ever again. I already installed an app that…”
“I’m going to give you a homework assignment, Mr. Sullivan”
My Brain: … and you’ll have plenty of time to finish it in the big house you degenerate…
“I want you to watch a video about texting and driving, and write a one page report about what you learned, and how you feel about it. I’m going to waive jail time, and reduce your fine to $360.”
My Brain: I promise I’ll never screw up again. I really am gonna be different this time. Do you want me to write more than one page? I will! Do you want me to throw my phone in the garbage? I will! I’ll stomp the shit out of it right now in front of everyone. But I’m way too fragile to get shipped up the river. I’ll do anything I need to.
“I appreciate that, your honor. I’ll pay the fine in full today. You’ll have the report within the week.”
So seriously, don’t text and drive. You’ll save your money. You’ll save your time. You’ll save your sanity. And obviously and most importantly, you’ll save lives.