Fishing For A Safe Drive

It was my mother’s suggestion, wise as she is at 87. We needed to distract a 5-year-old little boy who was visibly upset because his little brother had taken a tumble that resulted in a trip to Med-Express.

The 5-year-old and his brother are two of my mother’s growing list of great-grandchildren. He was left in our care while his mother and grandmother tended to the childhood emergency at hand.

So my mother got out this oversized deck of playing cards and we commenced to play many games of “Fish.” Amazingly and without much assistance, the 5-year-old won most of the hands and was distracted enough to end the tears and too many questions until his brother was safely back at his side.

It’s not always easy to find the right distraction when it comes to children. That’s obvious in church pews, at wedding ceremonies and other occasions when we ask children to be seen, but not heard. Patience is the best attribute the rest of us can display at such times.

Too bad many teens and adults cannot adhere to the idea of patience over distraction. I don’t know about you, but I have been the near-miss target of numerous distracted drivers. There are the usual suspects talking on their hand-held cell phones. There also are the ones applying mascara and juggling a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich that make me nervous.

That’s bad enough, but the girl driving her car with her knees so she could text with two hands while driving sent me over the edge.

Just a few short days ago West Virginia enacted a law that has sent many drivers to their Radio Shack or cell phone providers for a hands-free cell phone device. It is now against the law – a primary offense at that – to talk on your hand-held cell phone while driving in the Mountain State. You cannot even have the phone in your hand while behind the wheel. It is called DISTRACTED DRIVING – as if we needed a law to tell us that.

Law enforcement officers don’t like having to pry a phone from the hands of a driver. They’d much rather catch someone alive than have to tell a loved one’s family that a life had ended while on a cell phone behind the wheel of his or her car.

We are spoiled to the point of stupidity and it scares me, as it should you. We forget driving is a privilege that must be earned, with laws to keep us on the road.

We have seat belt laws so fewer people lose their lives through their windshields. Speed limits are in place, again with our safety in mind. And now the hands-free phone law was created because we haven’t taken our responsibilities seriously while driving.

What is so important that can’t wait until we can pull over to make a phone call? Even in this business of breaking news, we have to think of the greater safety issue at hand as we head to a fire or shots-fired call on the police scanner.

Please do the right thing. I’m not very good at “Fish.”

Heather Ziegler can be reached at