I’m driving down the road singing Old MacDonald at the top of my lungs, trying to keep an eye on the road while reaching behind me to retrieve a sippy cup for my crying toddler. This is an everyday occurrence. God forbid my cell phone chime off at this point. Even if I don’t answer it, I was already breaking the law. Because apparently Maine just passed a law against driving while distracted.
Law enforcement in my area should know I will always be breaking this law. Seriously. Always.
This recently enacted law has been written quite vaguely and doesn’t specifically ban cell phones, GPS systems, or screaming children. Another consolation: distracted driving has not been named a primary offense, meaning I can’t be pulled over for drinking coffee while changing the Raffi CD and handing Josh a cookie. Not that I shouldn’t be. In this situation I am clearly neglecting my primary goal of getting from point A to point B unscathed. However, if I am distracted with any of said activities and I break another law (swerve into another lane, run a stop sign, or hit another vehicle, all of which I never do by the way) I can be cited for that and breaking the driving while distracted law.
Actually, this is a good thing. I will be forced to plan ahead! I will tuck snacks into Joshua’s car seat before heading down the road. I will give him toys and books and fun things to keep him from getting bored. I will learn even more catchy tunes to sing. I’ll memorize where all the construction sites are so I can point out dump trucks and diggers. All of this will keep him happy. For about fifteen minutes. This means I can make a scream-free trip to the grocery store. And the local library. Sadly, that’s about it. Day care/my office: half hour. Babies R Us diaper run: half hour. Doctor’s appointments: too far.
My kid is distracting! Driving anywhere with him is distracting. If he’s screaming, I’m distracted. If I’m busy keeping him from not sceaming, I’m distracted. Never mind the fact that I start off each drive completely worn down from the ninja martial arts moves I had to use to get him strapped in the car in the first place. I’ve usually broken a sweat by the time I collapse in the driver’s seat. This fatigue: distracting. The very nature of being a mother is to be distracted. Should the cops ever need to meet a quota for this new law, all they have to do is be on the lookout for car seats and minivans.
And just imagine how much more distracted I’d be if I had two kids in the car. Oh. My. God.