Cell phones are amazing gadgets and are getting more and more sophisticated every year. With texting, GPS, voice memos, email, and web searches, they can pretty much allow you to run your life from the palm of your hand. However, in the right situation, they can also cause you to ruin it.
According to the National Safety Council, the use of cell phones while driving causes approximately 26% of motor vehicle crashes. The NSC furthers their estimations by stating that 5% of these cell phone accidents involve texting, while 21% involve drivers using their devices (handheld and hands-free) to talk to others. As a result, many states now prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. This means that using your cell phone while driving not only puts you at great risk of causing an accident, but also of being charged with a criminal traffic offense.
National Cell Phone Courtesy Month Can Help Limit Your Risks
Established by author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, National Cell Phone Courtesy month encourages Americans to embrace simple cell phone guidelines for the betterment of society. Although some of these guidelines are meant to limit annoying cell phone behavior in public, others are expressly for traffic safety protocols. These include:
- Be all there. When you’re driving, put all of your focus on the task at hand. Leave your phone in your purse, turn it off until you’re done, and let calls go to voicemail. When your phone is out of sight and out of mind, it can’t cause dangerous distractions.
- Follow the rules. If the law states that cell phone use or texting is prohibited, then don’t do it. Put your phone away until you reach an appropriate and legal time and place to use it.
- Be responsible while driving. If you’re allowed some use of a cell phone while driving, be smart about it: don't make or answer calls while in heavy traffic, put it down during hazardous conditions, only place calls when your vehicle is not in motion, and use hands-free devices to encourage proper focus on the road.
By following these three simple guidelines, you’ll not only show proper courtesy to your fellow riders and drivers, but you could avoid putting yourself in a situation where you could cause a catastrophic accident. Protect yourself, the people around you, and your future by simply putting the phone down and focusing on safety. Otherwise, you may wind up needing our help to build a strong defense against costly traffic offense charges.