Texting While Driving – Truth AND Consequences
When we are first born, it is true that we can do virtually nothing on our own. I’ve been told that your eyes can’t focus on your surroundings until your brain figures out how to do it after about 3 days of trial and error. That’s when we first start to smile as we get a clearer view of our parents. We do not come with an automatic ability to do much of anything including the ability to drive cars, even toy ones.
As we grow, we start to learn how to do things, mostly, not by reading a book, but by trial and error. As we struggle with our surroundings it is NOT our successes that do the most teaching in our lives, it is our failures, and the painful ones teach us the most and remain with us much longer.
Eventually we learn to walk, run, talk, eat, dress ourselves and do other activities of daily living. Each activity is learned and can be performed successfully after a massive amount of practice. We very often pick up some of the habits that we see in those around us that have a significant amount of influence in our daily lives – generally our Parents.
We grow up in an environment that shapes how we view work ethics, morals, personal convictions, values, and other societal pressures that affect our lives, often for the rest of our days. Most of this “internal software programming” comes after many years of failures and successes that are honed into us so that we become a unique individual different from every other person in the world.
As we are trained by our parents, school systems, peers, cell phones, social media, and the ever-present news media we often adjust our internal programming to be like those around us that we have relationships with. That goes with us when we do all sorts of activities that we think we are big enough to do. A major problem with getting to any point in our lives is that we don’t consciously remember that originally, we could not do a thing by ourselves.
As we grow up, we become an integral part of a society that is increasingly mobile. That mobility is in the form of some or many kinds of singular and mass transportation systems. We view driving as something that we have a rite of passage to and can hardly wait until we are old enough to do it on our own.
Unfortunately, we don’t realize that what we watch other people do in the driver’s seat is a learned process for them that took massive amounts of practice. It appears to be so easy that anyone can do it so when we first drive a car around the block and don’t die, we start to build an internal confidence that is ever increasing at a rapid rate, but its basis is generally devoid of the laws of science (Physics) that are essential to understand the limitations that we must be aware of to drive safely and defensively.
Add to that, especially for young people who think that they are never going to die, and a recipe for disaster has been built without our conscious knowledge. We originally start out being very careful but that quickly gives way, almost insidiously, to an attitude that allows those who are willing to take chances to do just that. The various environmental limitations that are often imposed on us without our full understanding and appreciation of the consequences start to put us in ever more potentially dangerous situations.
One final thing that almost no one fully realizes until it is too late is the fact that we tend to believe that bad things will happen, but it will always be to someone else in a different place than our own. We see it on television and feel sorry for those involved but it does little to change our own personal driving habits. This is mostly true because driving an automobile really does seem like almost anyone can do it.
All the above has been said to tell you about a recent event that took place in Florida’s Hernando County on Interstate 75 in September of 2016. We really need to internalize what happened to the individuals involved with an understanding of a term you may be familiar with – “There but for the Grace of God, go I”.
Mr. Gregory Andriotis was driving his vehicle at an estimated 86 MPH while he was texting and driving. Most likely he had done this on many different occasions and locations with what he would have considered success, which erroneously boosted his confidence to continue doing this dangerous activity.
Records show that for the eight minutes before the event occurred, he was talking with his wife on the phone, downloading a spreadsheet program and paying a bill online. With all these self-imposed distractions he failed to notice the vehicles in front of him that he was rapidly approaching were moving at a significantly slower speed than he was. He drove directly into the back of a slow-moving SUV that had the Scherer Family in it consisting of a mother, father and two children ages 6 and 9 years old.
The impact resulted in the immediate death of the 9-year-old boy, Logan Scherer in the back seat of the vehicle and included life threatening injuries to the remainder of the family. The three other members did not perish but suffered injuries requiring a long period of rehabilitation and most likely life-altering bodily injuries that will remain with them the rest of their lives.
In April of this year, 2023 Mr. Andriotis was sentenced to 30 years behind bars and the complete revocation of all his driving privileges for the rest of his life. The sentence included 15 years for Manslaughter related to Logan Scherer’s death and three 5-year sentences for reckless driving to be served consecutively for the injuries to the other passengers.
The sad state of this story is that the family suffered a loss that cannot be measured for the rest of their lives and that it took our court system over 7 years to reach this conclusion putting an undue emotional event into the Scherer family’s life. The other big losers in this event were Mr. Andriotis’ wife and two children who will now have to live without their husband/father for 30 years.
Please view the footage released in the attached file from various news agencies. Unfortunately, there are some advertisements that can be bypassed after 5 seconds of seeing the video and the news reel will then be viewable.
After reading this and viewing some of the courtroom proceedings, ask yourself how you would feel if this were you. Remember there are no “Do OVERS” when driving!