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06/11/2010

Forget a Hybrid: I Need a Bubble Car

©2007 chefranden It's been a rough two weeks for central and south-eastern Ohioans on the roads. More over, it's been a rough time for those who are our children on our roads.

On June 2, a Kindergartener was killed in a bus crash in Dresden. On June 8, an 18 year old was killed on his motorcycle as he was involved in a head on collision with a van in Cambridge. He was wearing a helmet. On June 9, a family of five, including a three and seven year old, were all killed in an accident on I-70 just west of Zanesville. On June 10, a 12-year-old boy was hit while on his bike by a car driven by a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old was injured in a hit-and-run accident. Both of the accidents on the 10th were non-fatal and occurred in Zanesville.

These are just the stories that I know of specifically.

It dawns on me that the summer months are upon us. High schoolers are graduating. The weather is lovely. There's a carefree feel to the air. Until the thunderstorms move in and make it impossible to drive. I was caught in one such storm on the way to Columbus on Saturday, June 5. I eventually pulled off at the Newark exist, fully aware that my driving limits had been passed. I couldn't see. I didn't trust myself to continue any further. It was raining heavily when the crash on the 9th happened.

Granted, weather wasn't to blame for the school bus crash, though the family is hoping that a seat belt law will be passed in memory of their son. It does bring to question why we're so adamant that our children sit in booster seats until they're eight years old but freely, without question, load them into buses and wave as they depart, no safer than if they were standing backward in the station wagons of yesteryear. Comments on online newspaper articles about the proposed seat belt law cite a resistance to raising taxes to fund such an idea. In my book, safety always ranks above money.

Then again, I refuse to put my kids on the school bus. I'm that mom who will drive them to school and pick them up even when it is wholly uncool by my kids' standards. Of course, I don't know if that matters much. The van that was involved in the head on collision carried two children. The kids were treated and later released while the mothers' condition has been upgraded to good. Perhaps those kids were saved by their safety seats but they didn't stop the accident from happening. Those safety seats also didn't save their mother from being placed in the hospital. And they surely didn't save the children from enduring the trauma of what they witnessed.

I'm guilty of occasionally speeding, especially when the weather is lovely and summery. Roll down the windows. Turn up the radio. Forget the cares and worries of the day. It's a release. But I sat a little straighter in my driver's seat today. I paid a bit more attention. School is out. Children are out, as they should be, enjoying all that nature has to offer when they're not in a school room. What if a ball ran out in front of my vehicle? Could I stop in time? Would I be able to live with myself if I didn't? What if my own children were injured in the process? I know the answer.

The recent fatal crashes in and around my immediate area have made me think more about my driving, the importance of safety and our children. Not mine but all those that have lost their lives on the roads of our state. If you're out driving this summer, keep safety in mind. If you have a teen driver, remind them that their safety is far more important than any joy ride. And while you're at it, give thanks for every time you've gotten behind the wheel and arrived at your destination safely.

Please be safe driving this summer. If not for your sake, for my family's sake. There are no bubble cars to keep us all safe.

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Photo Credit: chefranden.

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

Jenna Hatfield, aka @FireMom, is a freelance writer and newspaper photographer. She blogs at Stop, Drop & Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a Contributing Editor at Mom Central Technology.

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