More often than not lately, I feel like the world is going to hell in a hand basket. And a bunch of us are driving there at 65 mph while brainlessly texting on our smartphones. One of these morons is Ani Voskanian, a 21-year-old woman who killed an 80-year-old man while driving and sending a text last year in Southern California. (I'm sure it was, like, super-important!) She pleaded guilty to murdering Misak Ranjbar when she failed to stop at a four-way intersection. Now, she's been sentenced with a rather unusual punishment: A lifelong ban from having a cellphone in her car. (She also has to tour local schools and talk to kids about the dangers of texting and driving.)
Although she is a murderer, and jail was a definite option, the victim's family is in full support of this "odd" sentencing. I gotta say, I am, too.
Prohibiting Voskanian from ever having a cellphone in her car is actually a brilliant move. The punishment fits the crime, and it's exactly the message the government needs to be sending reckless texting drivers.
Just cruising around my northern New Jersey suburban roads, I've encountered idiots holding and yakking on their cellphones with one hand on the wheel (which is supposedly illegal in NJ). And it's not uncommon to see someone sending a text at a stop sign, or even while gliding down a road at 35 mph, totally staring into their lap. It's sick that it seems as though some people seem to think texting and driving is somehow okay. As though they should have a choice in the matter, just as we do what kind of gas to get (regular or plus?) or what kind of music to listen to on the radio (pop or rap?). There IS no choice. It's NOT up for debate. It's a friggin' idiot move, no matter the circumstances. It can obviously lead to death. And we need to get to the point where the state treats it as seriously as drinking and driving.
Granted, if that were the case, Ani's punishment would be more along the lines of a DUI (could call it DWT -- Driving While Texting) or jail, of course. But hopefully her consequence sends a clear message to the masses that her behavior won't be tolerated and will be punishable with a life sentence, one way or the other.
What do you think about Ani's sentencing?