Look, I hate to be one of those in New Jersey who judges others. I get many of us are all in different situations and sometimes our actions may be a reflection of that as a result.

This particular instant happened one morning while walking my kids to school. While a bunch of kids get dropped off by either bus or family members, some of us live close enough to where heading over by foot is a reasonable option.

Our particular neighborhood does not get a bus since it's located near the school. With that said, whenever the weather cooperates we try to go by foot instead of by car.

As we get near the school, it's quite common to see other parents driving their kids to drop them off. Again, not everyone here gets busses and not everyone lives as close to the school as we do.

School zone road sign

Now I've gotten to know a handful of the parents in our community, and many of them have to go to work right after they leave the school area. I totally get it.

My wife also has a job where she sometimes has to get moving ASAP right after the kids get dropped off. Fortunately, I tend to start a little later making it easy for me to handle the morning school duties.

Anyway, the point I wanted to make here is that I get why some parents feel the need to driver a little faster than they should in the neighborhood. It's also why many parents put their younger kids in the front passenger seat. With the setup at this school, it honestly makes it easier for drop-off.

It's something I've gotten used to seeing on our morning school walks. But with that said, there is a difference between driving a little fast, and speeding. In a neighborhood, it's usually pretty easy to tell the difference.

Speeding - Doing 45 MPH in a 25 MPH speed zone

This particular morning I'm referencing happened early in June. Being the school year is about to end, it's understandable most parents and kids just want to get to that finish line already.

But this one woman we saw was probably the most careless driver we've seen to date. Not only was she obviously speeding, but when she passed by us, you could clearly see her holding her phone in hand with her eyes locked onto the screen.

What's more, the child, who appeared to be maybe 9ish, was sitting in the front passenger seat. I'm just labeling the driver as a woman here since I don't know if she was indeed the mom or not... don't want to make an assumption there.

Crosswalk sign sign in downtown Toms River
Crosswalk sign sign in downtown Toms River (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

I was waiting to cross the street with my sons when we saw that car coming up the street rather quickly. When it passed by us we were able to get a clear view of exactly what was going on.

Even my sons commented on the phone, speed, and child in the front. I am glad, however, that my kids recognized that as concerning, as it means that they are paying attention to their surroundings while walking.

Again, you can clearly tell it was a woman driving, but I don't know if it was the mom or not. I'd like to think moms would use much better judgment when driving their kids anywhere.

Driver approaching a crosswalk while on their cell phone

With all that said, it is entirely possible this woman had a rough morning getting the kid out the door and into the car and they were just trying to check in with work. As mentioned earlier, it's not uncommon for kids in the neighborhood to be in the front passenger seat for a school drop-off, so that to me isn't a big deal on its own.

What was a big deal was the combination of speed, phone, and front seat child in a neighborhood. And if I had to guess, I'd say being glued to that phone screen is what probably made the speeding happen.

Had I and my kids started crossing before that car got to the intersection, would we have been hit? It's possible. But it also provided a valuable lesson for my boys to always keep their eyes open because you can't trust the other person is aware of their surroundings.

Driving toward a crosswalk while on the cell phone

The school year is almost out, and it can get a little crazy. I'm sure most parents would agree. But no matter how crazy your morning goes, please try to go easy on those early morning drop-offs.

Yes, I get it, but please let off the gas and put the phone down. Let's end the school year and get to summer break safely.

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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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