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Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A car's best safety feature? Kids

When I was little, I used to think that my generation of Atari and Nintendo players would grow up to be the best drivers ever.

But now we're driving around with people addicted to technology when they should be paying attention to traffic. Talk about annoying.

Anyone who has seen my extremely boring, extremely momified sedan might say I have sour grapes, but I think that Internet-enabled cars are accidents waiting to happen.

I get pretty nervous when I see car commercials advertising super-fancy computer features that let you order movie tickets and drive at the same time.

Texting and driving is already illegal, so why is it OK to access Bing on your dashboard?

The other night my family was driving through Marysville, and we were stuck behind a guy with one eye on the road and another on a media screen. I have no idea what he was watching or why it was more important than not crashing into me and my children.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather have the person in the lane next to me concentrating on driving instead of listening to his Facebook feed.

My car may not have the capacity to tweet, but it does have safety features that money can't buy. There are two of them, strapped into the backseat, keeping me honest. If I drive even a few miles over the speed limit, my son or daughter will let me hear about it. It's almost a race between them to see who can correct Mom first.

That's not even the most annoying part. Last December they picked up two echo microphones in their kids meals from Wendy's. Naively, I thought these would make good car toys. "They'll be great for singing along to the radio," I thought.


Now whenever I drive anywhere, I hear my children's amplified voices saying "SLOW DOWN!" and "THAT WAS A YELLOW LIGHT!" So see? I've got enough distractions to deal with on the road without worrying about the Internet. My kids are like homegrown nanny-cams.

According to my husband, the only thing worse than driving around with our traffic-cop-spawn is driving around with yours truly. My husband has a solid history of Atari car racing behind him, as well as a clean driving record. I really should mute up and trust him more.

But in my defense, we have very different tolerance levels for how fast the windshield wipers should be going. My husband also doesn't know the secret way to get to Alderwood Mall (or where to park when you get there).

At least I'm not polling my Facebook friends from the dashboard: "Headed through Lynnwood in the rain. What should my husband do next?"

With or without the echo microphone, that would be really obnoxious.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmy

Story tags » Parenting

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