Certain states require background checks for employees that work directly with the most vulnerable citizens: children, the elderly, and the disabled. Such background checks are de rigueur for teachers, daycare workers, home healthcare workers, nurses, and aides. But ice cream truck workers? Such a bill was introduced recently in Iowa and passed in the state House last week. If approved, the bill would subject all ice cream truck drivers in the state to federal background checks in order to weed out sex offenders. Presently, a loophole prevents federal screening of all ice cream truck workers.
On one hand, such a law may seem superfluous and almost silly. Why would someone who is, essentially, a server need to go through the same type of background check that a teacher or healthcare worker needs? An ice cream truck driver, however, isn’t a cashier at a Dairy Queen or even a waiter; he or she is alone, unsupervised, and in a truck that comes in contact with children and pre-teens all day in warmer weather. If children are playing outside by themselves, their parents may not be nearby, and if an ice cream truck comes up the street, it’s just them and the worker in the truck. Instances like this are prime for predators to abduct a child, and in such situations, other children may be the only witnesses.
While not common occurrences, abductions involving ice cream trucks do happen, such as this 2008 incident in upstate New York. Although the article does not explain whether the 13-year-old girl was abducted by the ice cream truck worker, his mode of transportation on the job allows him to easily pick up a teen girl, against her will or not.
Although teens may have more discretion and freedom than young children, parents are advised to accompany their child at an ice cream truck, as even familiar faces in the neighborhood can be predators.