When texting and emailing while driving became illegal in North Carolina, I was actually relieved. It meant that I was free to ignore the vibration of my phone in my cup holder next to me until I got to my destination.
Clearly, this was already a common sense rule that we should have been following all along, but it was just too tempting to respond to every benign thing from deals at Pottery Barn to notes about the potluck at my daughter's school.
Still, people at work expect immediate responses from you when they know you have a BlackBerry, especially in the exact hour of the morning that you happen to be driving carpool. So, I have figured out a way around this dilemma. My 11-year-old has become my personal assistant.
She reads and responds to my emails while I drive. I dictate the responses, of course, and she happily types them in for me. Because she doesn't have a phone of her own, she considers this exercise "practice" for when she gets her own phone "someday." She is not as adept at typing on a small keyboard as I am, so I try to keep the responses simply. If the message is not that important, I instruct her to skip it, or delete it. I came up with the idea after my husband asked me to do the same thing on long car trips where I forbid him to touch his phone.
Clearly, there is always a slight danger of someone sending me an email with inappropriate content, but this is no more dangerous than one of my colleagues using colorful language on the Blue Tooth speaker phone as I drive to work with a carload full of children.
These days, technology seems to find us wherever we are. We have a choice to respond to the messages or simply ignore them. Or, in my case, have my adolescent assistant tell you, "Sounds good. Will do."
Amanda is the mom of two, reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.