While Macchio admits, “I may have had one small fender bender and a speeding ticket 29 years ago,” he says he’s now a conscientious driver, despite distractions (is that you Spielberg?) making it hard.
During our early morning Skype call he said, “With all the technology now it creates a lot of room for problems, so I try to talk to both my kids about that…Fortunately for me, my daughter Julia, who’s 19, puts her blackberry in the backseat and I’m really proud of that. That’s what you need to do and it’s tough to do. My phone beeps when I’m in the car and I think, ‘It’s Spielberg, I know it is and I have to take it now!’”
Although he says, “I’m always pressing the imaginary brake and it’s nerve-wracking,” Macchio’s son Daniel is now 16 and being schooled on driving from dad with the help of State Farm’s Teen Driver program.
Ralph says, “Driver’s education classes aren’t available in schools, which was the case when I was growing up. Now it’s all very expensive, which leads in to the whole State Farm safe driving program I really believe in and it’s why I’m involved with it. It’s free, online and it’s called Road Trips.” Check it out to see a series of videos of Macchio teaching his son to drive!
When not giving driving lessons, Macchio is preparing for a family trip to Paris to celebrate his big 5-0 (although he could still pass for 30!) with his kids and wife of 25 years, rooting for his former “Dancing with the Stars” dance partner Karina Smirnoff to make it to the top of the leader board with JR Martinez (he thinks Ricki Lake is the closest competition) and loving the online campaign his fans have for him to replace Regis Philbin on “Regis and Kelly”!
“There’s been a social media ground swell behind that,” he says. “It was mentioned that Regis was retiring when I was on “Dancing with the Stars” last season and some fans started a “Ralph for Regis” campaign. I’m really flattered by that. It’s certainly a job I would look at if it presented itself.”
He adds, “I’m sure it’s a long list and it’s a very big chair to fill, but stranger things have happened. And I’m a New Yorker, but we shall see.”