Parents Behind the Wheel: A Public Safety Hazard

Guys, I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but it’s something I feel I have to put out there.

I don’t think that parents of young kids should be allowed to drive.  It’s a matter of public safety, really.  Let’s break this down, shall we?

Parents of newborns.  This one’s pretty obvious.  Probably even these parents would agree with me.  When you’re getting less sleep than an emergency room intern and a victim of CIA sleep deprivation torture combined, you shouldn’t be allowed to operate a moving vehicle, case closed.  Especially if you’re still on the Percocet from your episiotomy or c-section and all hormonal and post-partumy to boot.  This deadly combination is basically a perfect storm that transforms even the most normal woman into Crazy Zombie Unsafe Driving Mother and whoever she is, I’m pretty sure she shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

Parents of toddlers.  Once you get past the newborn sleep deprivation stage, you have other problems to contend with.  The hum of the engine no longer puts your child into a carseat coma.  They’ve developed a mind of their own and they have things that they want but they don’t know how to verbalize them yet.  After their attention span has been exhausted (translation: after five minutes in the car), what you’re left with is a lot of crying and seat-kicking and you have no idea exactly why or how to fix it, so you’re sweating and stress-eating handfuls of Goldfish at a time as you’re driving all crazy-eyed and there’s crumbs all over your shirt and people are looking at you strangely at red lights (assuming you remembered to stop at them) as you’re flinging every toy and book within arms’ reach over your shoulder into the backseat to try to comfort your child before it turns green.  (Although always brush off the Goldfish crumbs before I stop next to other cars.  It’s called class, people.  Look it up.)

Parents of preschoolers.  You would think that once your kid gets a little older, you might be out of the woods as far as driving safety goes.  But you’d be wrong.  ”Mom, can I have a snack?  Mom, I need my book.  Mom?  Are we there yet?  Mom, I said I need a snack!  Mom, can you pass me my Pooh Bear?  Mom, I’m hungry!!”  Just listening to the incessant demands from the backseat is enough to make you want to purposely drive off a cliff.  Not to mention having to screech to a stop every time your potty-training kid tells you they think they have to pee.  Besides, I’ve seen you guys, driving down the road, listening to orders bellowed by the tiny dictator in the backseat to “SING MAMA SING LOUDER”, so intent on your dramatic hand gestures to “Wheels On the Bus” that you’re veering from the right lane to the rumble strip and back again.  Don’t try to deny it.  I saw you.  Time to hand over the driver’s license, Mom.  You’re a public safety hazard now.

So, who’s with me?  I’m thinking we should probably all turn in our licenses at the hospital nursery and there should be some kind of carpool service (or limo… again, class) that comes and picks us and our kids up whenever we need it.  Sound like a plan?  Like I said, it’s a matter of public safety, really.

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  1. by Sheena

    On April 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    How many times have I thought this myself?? Cracking up in class. This is unfortunately not an exaggeration – I find myself hyperventilating and sweating at times when my toddler is in the backseat, trying to keep her occupied. “Mama? Mama? MAMA!”

  2. by Jill Cordes

    On April 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I think you may have seen me yesterday singing the taxi song and flailing my arms. Good point! But, it was on the way home from her first DENTIST APPOT, so perhaps I get a free pass?

  3. by Blanca

    On April 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I gotta tell you.. i have LUCKED OUT!! my kiddo is pretty good at the whole car thing. There are days that i pray to god for patience, but all in all, i am blessed to have her be so easy going in the car! She sings out loud to her little hearts content (i have learned to change my choice of music to accomodate that) and she will ask for snacks and stuff, but i now put them at her reach for long trips. Oh god i hope this doesnt jinx me! HAHAHAHAH I’ll keep every one’s safety in my prayers…

  4. by Amanda

    On April 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I was just thinking the same thing today as my husband drove off for work fueled on caffeine after a long night with our newborn. I am definitely putting myself on a driving hiatus until I’m off my pain meds unless it’s an emergency!

  5. by Erin McDade

    On April 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I’m with Blanca; I’ve lucked out in the vehicular department. Then again, my little one is only 4 months old. She “talks” to herself in the car, babbling her beautiful nonsense, and is perfectly happy to be in her carseat for indefinite periods of time. There are occasional “off” days, but they are few and far between. As a mom running a business from home, my baby girl and I are on the road a lot, so it’s a good thing she’s so game for travel. Moms who are juggling a more demanding baby in the backseat, the only advice I can give, is: know your limits. For EVERYONE’S safety. There’s no shame in pulling over for a few minutes if you’re too distracted. Do it somewhere safe…not some isolated parking lot or on the side of the freeway–use your common sense–but remind yourself that that adorable noisemaker in the back, no matter how frustrating he/she can be, is the most precious thing in the world. Don’t take unnecessary risks!

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