The New DUI: Driving While Distracted

Uh oh. Better buckle up. It seems that more and more states are considering banning drivers from engaging in activities they call distracting.

Here in New York and elsewhere, we’ve (reluctantly) gotten used to hands-free cell phone chatting and conversations routinely interrupted by frantic instructions to “oh (insert four-letter word of your choosing here), hold on, there’s a police car.” But these newest restrictions could really put a cramp on the whole multi-tasking car culture as we suburban household CEOs (alternately known as Captains of the Carpools) know it.

Get this: Vermont is considering prohibiting eating, drinking, smoking, reading, writing, personal grooming, playing an instrument, or (this last one is downright cruel) interacting with pets while driving. Okay, cigarettes make me sick and I am a proud piano lesson drop-out. And I have indeed noticed that reading about Brittany’s latest parenting faux pas while driving really does adversely impact my level of reading comprehension.

But putting pedal to the metal without a cup of java or "interacting" with my Lab? Whoa. Talk about distracting. Clearly these lawmakers have not seen me handle my morning commute caffeine-free or steer my way through errands while ignoring 85 pounds of panting pet.

The rub is that the Green Mountain State is actually one of my favorite getaway destinations. But I might just have to forgo any road trips there if these new laws pass. Then again, maybe I'll just let my husband drive while I work my way through a cone of Ben & Jerry’s and play my favorite musical instrument, the iPod.

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