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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Please Don't Kill My Kid

Hey. Can I show you something? Grab your phone. It’s within twelve inches of your hand, isn’t it? Now take a look at your last three texts. I’ll wait…
Oh, here are mine:
~ Lori, re. my daughter’s birthday (her daughter can’t make it)
~ Dana, in response to my question about her new job
~ Julie, can my kid cat-sit next week?
How about your last three emails? Me?
~ An ad from Amazon
~ A response from my colleague about a marketing idea
~ From the VBS director about praying for our kids this week
One more? Facebook notifications:
~ From FB: “People are looking at your Page! Write a post now!”
~ Someone in my crochet group posted a new pattern
~ I got a new Like on my last post
What does every one of these distracting little bings have in common?
They’re not worth my kid dying over.
My son is volunteering this summer at a parks and rec camp for handicapped kids and adults. I’m so proud of him I’m thinking of making him his own five-layer chocolate cake just because. Picking him up after his job has been tough, however, because I have to pick up his little sister at exactly the same time, fifteen minutes away. So he’s had to wait for me.
Today, he’s decided to bike instead.
And I’m terrified.
Because I’ve seen how many people drive their cars while holding their cell phone screens next to the steering wheel. I’ve seen cars narrowly miss clobbering the vehicle next to them because their drivers were too busy dialing or scrolling or clicking to notice that they’d wandered into the wrong lane until the other driver honked in terror.
I almost rear-ended somebody one time because I was three words away from finishing a text and I just. couldn’t. wait. (Thank you, anti-lock breaks.)
It’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it.
Put the stupid phone away. Please don’t kill my kid because you can’t delay the gratification of knowing what someone said about your photo on Instagram until you arrive at your destination. That thin line of white paint on the pavement—the one that separates the car lane from the bike lane—won’t do a thing to keep my kid safe from you if you’re navigating your phone instead of your vehicle.
I know how hard it is to ignore the alerts. But I’ve committed to never touching my phone when I’m driving, because I’ve told my kids that if I ever catch them touching their phones when they start driving I will take their licenses away and feed them to the paper shredder, and I will flay my progeny within an inch of their lives.
Because it’s not just their lives they’d be jeopardizing.
It’s the life of the toddler who pulled away from his mom and ran into the street.
It’s the life of the pedestrian who played chicken with the WALK sign.
It’s the life of the kid on his bike.
I’ll bet if you checked your texts, emails, and notifications like I did, you discovered (like I did) that there’s nothing so time-critical it couldn’t have waited.
If there is—maybe you’re the only doctor in the world who has the knowledge to save that patient and you have to do it right this moment—then pull over. Stop driving, and give that business your full attention.
Otherwise, put the phone away while you’re operating a ton-plus slab of hurtling metal, against which a bike helmet is no match.
Please don’t kill my kid.


  1. We all need to stay alert when we're piloting a 3,000# piece of metal on wheels, amongst all the other 3,000# metal hunks intent on getting somewhere in the least amount of time. A kid on a bicycle (or scooter or skates or skateboard) is no match for my car or truck or bus, etc. PLEASE put down your smartphone till you can stop and give it your complete attention. PLEASE!

  2. Just got back from a 2500 mile round trip vacation. Driving all the miles, passing and being passed continually by vehicles, we witnessed this the whole time driving. One particular person, switched to holding a tablet (PC) on her steering wheel after we had seen them on the cell mutiple times. I guess it's obvious that one of us was not maintaining a constant (or even close to) speed. I'll let you decide who was, and who wasn't. (hint: I had cruise control It's so sad to see, and I must control myself not to make a quick little driving move, hoping to knock some sense into these people. But I know there would only get angry at me, and tell others how terrible a driver I was, and never learn how distracted they really are by their phone.