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Distracted driving

May 8, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
Every driver is guilty of distracted driving at some point or another. From something on the radio or drinking a pop or coffee, to the cell phone, or just daydreaming, most everyone's done it. But it was too close a call for this mom this morning.

I pulled up on the east side of the elementary school and let my daughter out by the crossing guard. They were nearly in the middle of the street when a young high school driver came roaring through (I'm pretty sure she was going more than the posted 20 mph) and showed no signs of stopping. One second later and my daughter would've been hit, but the crossing guard put her arm out to hold my daughter back and at the same time waved her bright orange flag in front of the driver. The driver then stopped and veered over to the curb.

I felt that Mean Mama Bear instinct again, wanting to go over, pound on that car (or that driver) and scream, "What the h-e-double hockey sticks are you doing?!" Maybe I did yell it, I'm not sure. All I did in that moment was stand in shock, staring at the car. At the license plate that burned into my head. By the time my daughter crossed to the playground and the car sped away, I got it together enough to call the police with what I just witnessed. The officer called and asked for my version of things about an hour later. He said the girl (as I thought, in high school) would at least get a warning.

Normally, I avoid dropping my daughter off there specifically for that reason. But I didn't today. Why? Because I had been thinking about a story I was going to write and missed the regular turn.

Distracted driving. I'm just as guilty.

It's made me wonder if I also have sailed through crosswalks unaware I was endangering someone's children. And I have that guilty reflection of being irritated having to stop and wait, stop and go, during the school drop-off and pick-up times. It's always different when it's your kid.

Will the high school girl in the shiny silver car learn her lesson? Is she aware she even did anything wrong? We can hope. And I can hope I will remember this tomorrow, and the next day and the next when I'm driving through the stop and go conga line at the school: pay attention and be patient. Somebody's baby is crossing the road there.


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