Talking on your cell phone is a common act, especially when you’re driving. Almost everyone has to use the cellular device to run errands, catch up with friends, keep contact with family or going to a job site. What the bad thing is that texting while driving is dangerous. Be careful since every state in America is now cracking down to put a stop to dangerous texting while you’re driving driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10 million drivers in the U.S. are using cell phones while driving!
Driving is a privilege, not a right, don’t abuse it. If you must use your cell phone or send out an emergency text message. Do it at a stop signal or just pull over into a rest stop or an emergency lane. Not paying attention and keeping your eyes glued to the road accounts for 25% of all accidents.
Are cell phones are to blame? Yes cell phones are a contributing factor to the issue. But it’s more that people are abusing the use of cell phones. Research studies show that the act of dialing in a number, entering in a text message or picking up the device distracts drivers, leading to increased accident rates on the road and highways. Additionally, some studies show that the act of having a conversation is to blame – especially if it’s a heated argument or it is emotionally charged.
What’s worse is that more and more drivers are talking on cell phones, texting, styling their make-up or hair, eating, drinking and changing the radio station simultaneously. This makes it more likely for you to get into an accident.
What can you do to prevent yourself from doing this and getting into trouble with law enforcement?
- Get a hands free device (Bluetooth headset). Research has found that by using a hands-free device, drivers are spending less time handling the device such as dialing or picking up the cell phone. Even though this will not completely eliminate the distractions, it will certainly make the trip safer for others and yourself.
In regards to the matter of cell phone use while driving, laws are now starting to be created to ban cell phone use while driving; especially texting while driving. Exceptions to the laws are for emergency calls to police, the fire department, medical responders such as EMT’s and paramedics.
Which states have started to ban cell phone or texting while driving?
- State Bans: Seven states have enacted the laws to enforce banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving: California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington (as well as Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands). That means that police officers can pull you over for using a handheld cell phone without any other reason for the traffic stop. If you continue and abuse your driving privileges and use your cell phone device fore-after you have been warned again and again, your cell phone can be taken from you by law and be held in custody by the police department. It is your duty to speak to the department or write a letter to get your cell phone back.
- Texting: Twenty-nine states, Washington D.C., and Guam have banned text messaging for all drivers. In most of these states, you can be pulled over and written down for texting as breaking the law. Your ticket can range from a warning to up to $500.
Safety tips on making a phone call while driving: Whether or not your state enforces cell phone usage while driving all drivers need to be cautious when using cell phones while driving.
- When possible, make calls when your car is not moving.
- Do not make calls in heavy traffic or bad weather.
- Program frequently called numbers into your phone’s memory. Set emergency contacts on speed dial such as holding down the “1, 2, 3, 4 or 5″. The less time spent distracted on the act of pressing in numbers, the safer it is for others on the road and yourself.
- Keep your phone where it is easy for you to reach and grab.
- Do not ever take notes, write messages, or look up phone numbers while driving. If absolutely must have to do any of these things, pull over and continue your tasks.
- When pulling over to make calls or take notes, avoid dangerous areas, check your rear-view mirror for oncoming traffic and lock car doors.
- If someone is with you, ask a passenger to make or take a call or write a text message for you.
- Keep conversations short and avoid discussing emotional topics.
- If you must dial while driving, hold the phone at eye level so you can keep your attention on the road.