I applaud "Terrified Mama in California" on her stance with her "multitasking" daughter who texts and phones while driving. I recently swore off cell-phone use in my vehicle after I saw the dramatic BBC public service ad on YouTube discouraging it, a re-enactment of an actual event. I am forever changed for the better, and so are my two daughters who ride with me.
If there is an emergency, my family now knows that if I don't answer my phone, they should call right back and I'll pull over to take the call. Otherwise, I will call later. This has worked like a charm.
I still notice all the other phone conversations going on while people operate thousands of pounds of steel, glass and plastic containing their most precious cargo. Driving time for me is now spent conversing with my kids, singing along to music or just chilling out.
As moms, we are concerned about lead in our children's toys, the safety of flu vaccines and additives in the foods they eat. But it never occurs to us that, in the blink of an eye, life can change forever because of that call or text that "had" to be made.
You cannot do it all. Be present in the moment when you operate your vehicle. The life you save may be your own.
- Susan in Pennsylvania
DEAR SUSAN: Thank you for your persuasive reminder. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: If "Terrified's" daughter were only a danger to herself, I'd be all in favor of allowing her to compete for a Darwin award. Unfortunately, she's a danger to everyone.
I have seen amazingly mindless behavior by people on cell phones who were not driving - including one who paid for and walked away from her purchases at a store. Too many cell-phone users are completely oblivious to anything but their conversation. It should be obvious that phones and driving don't go together.
Earlier this year a woman on a cell phone here hit a motorcyclist. Apparently clueless to having just been in an accident, she proceeded to drive over him, and that's what killed him. Witnesses said she was still talking on her phone when she got out of her SUV.
Abby, you missed a golden opportunity to call for state or federal regulations banning the use of cell phones while driving. It would make the world safer for everyone.
- Larry in Kansas City
DEAR ABBY: I was shocked that you told that mother that there isn't much she can do if her daughter doesn't want to shape up. You said yourself that the practice could be compared to driving drunk. She is endangering her child every time she's behind the wheel "multitasking." That grandmother should not give up trying to save her grandchild.
I work for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. President Obama has asked all government employees to pledge to not drive while operating tech devices. Grandma should report her daughter to the authorities for child endangerment.
- N.H.T.S.A. Mom
DEAR ABBY: I was slightly distracted by a phone call while driving home one afternoon. A car crossed the double yellow line and cut me off. I saw it, swerved and lost control of my vehicle, which crashed into the divider and flipped over, shattering my legs in the process. Thank goodness my son was not in the car with me.
I'm convinced the phone I was holding in my hand kept me from being able to completely control my car. Since that day, I never phone or text while driving.
- Lisa in Long Beach
DEAR ABBY: To "Terrified Mama": Call the police and give them your daughter's license plate number. Tell them she's driving while on the phone or texting (both illegal in your state), and you're afraid she or your grandkids will be hurt. They will watch for her and pull her over. Perhaps a traffic ticket will do what your concern has not.