It was last Thursday afternoon. It had been a really long week of gradual entry for both Preschool and Kindergarten for the girls. It had been a really long week of gradual entry for both preschool and Kindergarten for ME!
The girls were running on empty and I was running on emptier!
I’m not sure if it’s because the girls just spent 2.5 months with each other all day everyday or what, but the new thing in our house is c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t bickering between our 2.5 year old and (nearly) 5 year old. It has me at wits end by the end of most days. There were a lot of moments this summer where I was pretty sure I was going to lose my mind. For real, this time. 😛
Throw in a long day of new beginnings and transitions and when the girls started at each other in the car on Thursday to head home, I needed to hear something (ANYTHING) other than the battle in the backseat.
We came to a stop in typical North Shore traffic on Marine Dr. and I grabbed at my phone frantically and started just shy of yelling at Siri to “PLAY : BAD BLOOD”. (Yes, we are a family of Taylor Swift fans.)
Siri couldn’t hear my request so I hit the button again and tried to enunciate a little more clearly, attempting to beat out the background noise of the kids. “PLAYYYY BADDDDD BLOOOOD”.
No dice. No Bad Blood. No peace and quiet in the car.
What I did get when I looked to my right, was a flag down from a police officer who watched me yelling at Siri twice and then putting my phone back into my cup holder (after having given up, totally exasperated).
I pulled off to the side, really nervous and frustrated. I have been driving for 21 years and have never EVER been pulled over. I don’t have one speeding ticket to my name and I knew I was about to land my first infraction. NOOOOOOO.
“Hi there Miss. License and registration please”, said the police officer through my window (and over the questioning of the littles in the back asking me why we stopped and why I opened my window and why the policeman was talking to me AND AND AND).
I handed over my documents and explained that I was only using Siri to try and play a song. I wasn’t typing, I wasn’t having a phone conversation, I wasn’t even looking down at the screen. Turns out- none of that matters and I was told something I never knew.
You cannot have your phone in your lap!
You cannot have your phone in your cup holder!
You cannot have your phone anywhere loose in your vehicle! NOWHERE!
Otherwise, the penalty is a ticket like mine!
Experienced drivers may use hands-free devices (ex: pre-programmed GPS, microphones, audio players, etc.), but only under certain conditions. The device must be:
- Securely attached to the car or driver, and not loose in your lap, cup holder or on the seat next to you, and
- Voice activated, taking only one touch to accept or end a call.
- If the device has an earpiece, it must be worn in one ear only, placed before driving. (Note that motorcyclists can wear an earpiece in both ears.)
Where you CAN have your phone:
- In your purse/bag
- In your glove box or arm rest
- In your pocket
- Attached to your car securely
I did NOT know this. Did you? If I had read this amazing TELUS WISE distracted driving guide front to cover when I first found out about it, instead of letting it sit in my inbox for weeks… I would have known.
From now on, my phone will be in a phone holder!
I urge you to take a moment to read the TELUS WISE distracted driving guide. It has so much valuable information. While I am writing about my own personal experience of distracted driving resulting in a fine, the statistics are frightening about the deaths that are caused every year in BC as a result of distracted driving.
I used my experience as a teachable moment for the girls. I explained to them WHY anyone who is driving a car shouldn’t be using their phone. It’s not because you can get a ticket. It’s because you could seriously harm (the language I used with them) another person and it is our responsibility to be safe behind the wheels of our own cars. You better believe that every single time we get in the car now, Portia reminds me not to use my phone. Here’s hoping this sets a positive example that carries through her teens and adult life.
About TELUS WISE
TELUS WISE (WISE Internet and Smartphone Education) is a free educational program available to all Canadians – focusing on Internet and Smartphone safety/security to help keep families safer from online criminal activity such as financial fraud and cyberbullying.
Disclosure: I am a proud advocate for #TeamTELUS. I receive special perks as a thank you for helping to share all the great programs and initiatives going on at TELUS.