I’m an engineer also, although my wife isn’t. She is much better at mental math than me but that is another story.
“you have to stand in the driveway and watch that big yellow deathtrap kidnap your offspring”
Good for you, but you have to do one more thing, which is leave them at the corner and go home. Our house is at the end of a short dead end street. From the time our daughter started taking the school bus she walked up the street alone and waited on the corner alone. It is a distance of maybe 50 yards tops. Certain parents on the next even shorter block drove their children to the corner and waited with them in the car until the bus showed up, protecting their little darlings from the hordes of child molesters that mass media assures us hide in every bush. Obviously much better parents than those uncaring boobs, my wife and me.
When she returned she would walk home from the corner. Occasionally I would wonder where the hell she was, and go to the end of the street to find her playing in the sand that had accumulated there, eating her peck of dirt, unconcerned about the cars whipping by.
Later when she learned to ride a bicycle I would fairly chase her away to go ride around the neighborhood. Go search for adventure, kid!
Halfway through high school she decided to transfer to a charter school which happened to be in one of the sketchiest parts of town. She either rode her bike or took a bus and walked about four blocks from the bus stop to her school.
Did I chew my fingernails to the bone through all of this? You bet your ass!
She is now a grown woman, self possessed, realistic, and responsible. She and her boyfriend are making her own lives, well away from my basement. She learned from an early age to take responsibility and stay safe. I can barely tell you how proud I am of her.
No risk, no reward.