My wife is 5’1″…. and a half. Why is that important? Wait, I’ll get to it. First, let’s look at this huge fine a working Mom in Rio Rancho (subscription) got hit with:
When Tammi Nidever moved to the City of Vision from Albuquerque last year, she didn’t know it was against the law for her 10-year-old daughter to ride in the front seat of their Explorer.
She soon found out.
And she was given the choice of paying $138 or performing 40 hours of community service.
Now nowhere in the article written by does it state that she was driving recklessly. Nor, does it indicate her daughter wasn’t in a seatbelt. What was this “terrible woman” doing when she was pulled over? She was taking her daughter to school.
But wait, this is about safety, right? After all, she was endangering the life of the child. Well, apparently in Rio Rancho not all children are created equal:
Then Tammi learned that in Rio Rancho, a city ordinance makes it illegal for a child under age 13 to ride in the front seat of a vehicle unless there is no back seat. And if the passenger seats are all taken up by kids, the oldest kid has to ride shotgun.
So, let me get this straight. This is a terrible crime that warrants a big ticket or 40 hours of community service – that’s a full work week folks! Unless, you just don’t happen to have a back seat. Then, no worries, your kid is okay in the front. Or, if you have four kids, and only room for three in the back, go ahead and toss the fourth one up front – I guess if you’ve got that many the City of Rio Rancho has decided that child is expendable.
This is a perfect example of an absurd law. Don’t get me wrong – 95% of the time my kids (10 and 8) sit in the backseat. I don’t live in Rio Rancho, and rarely drive through it. So, I do it because I’ve read or heard it was safer – not because of a law that pretends to protect some kids, but not others. Now, I did say 95% of time. Sometimes, as a parent, I take into consideration where I’m going, and if I feel it is safe for my child to ride up front with me, I let them do it.
So, is society better off because of Rio Rancho’s law? I don’t think so. I think this law has one purpose and one purpose only – to fill the city coffers. Remember there are generations of us that grew up in a time without these ridiculous laws on the books, and guess what? We survived.
Oh right, I almost forgot. My wife is 5’1″ and sits in the front seat all the time. The little girl who was riding in the front seat next to her mother on the way to school is 5’2″.