I call it the "Drop-Off Russian Roulette". And during the school year many parents of school-aged children choose to play this dangerous game on a daily basis.
It's against the law to drop off children anywhere but a designated school zone, but clearly the threat of a citation and having to participate in a few hours of traffic school are not enough to deter the determined.
When my middle school age son comes into my bedroom with that hang-dog look on his face at 6:45 AM and announces that his bike has its umpteenth flat tire, it means just one thing- I'm going to have to put a robe over my pajamas and try to make my hair lie flat. I have just been given two minutes notice that he needs a ride to school.
It's not that I really mind the unplanned excursion. What I can not hide are the unbelievably dangerous acts of the countless parents that join the school "drop-off" fray.
The school conveniently provides several safe areas next to the curve and out of traffic for parents to line up and discharge their offspring. On any given morning, the harried and stressed parents of a good number of children conveniently forget those those areas exist.
It is almost as if the threats of penalies and traffic school do not apply when you've got places to go and thins to do.
Do parents really drop off their kids across the street from school and allow them to bob-and-weave through strict traffic like a squirrel on the freeway just to save them a few minutes of traffic wrangling on their way to work?
Will their little ones really be tardy and labeled for life as a "punctually challenged" if they do not double park and let their children jump out of the door behind the driver so that they can attempt to dart surreptitiously through an endless flow of moving steel?
Or, sometimes some people believe that the fines and traffic school repercussions for stopping at a red curve do not kick in until after they have unloaded their precious cargo.
Then again, maybe it is not common knowledge that a U-turn is illegal on a two-way residential street. Although, I would think that it would only require a little common sense to realize that that move is not going to work too well in a huge SUV or Mommyvan. The U-turn suddenly becomes a 4-point turn; all executed while trying not to back into or run over one of the other illegally dropped children that have now been taken to take evasive action.
Essentially many of these parents are taking just one baby step beyond opening the door while the car is still moving and giving junior a shove.
These parents are not bad people. I know this because I see them at back-to-school nights and the children's sporting events. What boggles my mind is how so many people that obviously love their children can take such unnecessary chances with their children's well-being when it comes to dropping them off and picking them up from school.
Yes, all these actions are against the law. I could quote a vehicle code violation and a fine for each of these transgressions. I could remind you that in many states you may have to participate in traffic school, as well.
To what purpose?
If the potential danger to one's child is not a deterrent, I can not believe my ranting about fines and traffic school atonement will make an ounce of difference.
Maybe it's just because I never was much of a gambler but I can not help asking myself – in this deadly game of "Drop-Off Russian Roulette", does the potential gain really justify the potential cost?