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Kids Worse Than Cell Phones for Driver Distraction?

driverdistractionsI can talk on the phone while I drive in my state – I just can’t touch the phone while I’m doing it. But no one ever said anything about taking the lid off my daugher’s bottle of water. Or retrieving her thrown Croc. Or, hello, scooching my butt forward in the seat so I can get a good angle in the rearview mirror to make sure she isn’t eating (and choking on) the lollipop they gave her at the bank.

A piece in the NY Times this week accuses one federal agency of withholding crucial statistics about what distracts drivers – apparently so they wouldn’t piss off Congress.

They were focused on cell phone usage (no surprise there), but the writers over at Network World had tongue firmly planted in cheek in using the Times article as a jumping off point to call for government regulation of the driver distractions caused by kids.

Trouble is? They’re being facetious, but they’re on the money.

I rarely talk on a phone in my car to begin with, and I’ve got my hands-free device at the ready for when I do. But I’m as guilty as the next parent of the crime of parenting while driving.

Take, for example, the Croc blasted at my head. Hate Crocs all you want, but at least they’re relatively light. Think how much worse it would have been if it was her Vans with their hard rubber sole.

How about the annoying repeated requests for pomegranate blueberry juice when you’re inching forward in driving rain? There is no mute button for a pre-schooler.

And do I even have to bring up the fight over why I can’t search for “Teddy Bear Picnic” on my iPod when I’m doing sixty-five down the highway?

Give me a cell phone any day, and I’ll give you my pre-schooler. You tell me who’s got the safer driving tactics.

Image: Volvo4Ever

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