It is common to see the vehicle in front of you gradually slow or drift out of its lane, putting you and others in danger. These are signs of distracted driving, often caused by cell phone use.
Don’t be a distracted driver.
Consider the facts before you dial and drive:
- Cell phone use while driving quadruples the risk of a crash, according to the National Safety Council.
- Drivers using a cell phone perform no better and sometimes worse than legally drunk drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, according to a study by the University of Utah.
- When you dial and drive, your eyes are off the road and your mind is in the call, which differs from talking with a passenger. A passenger provides another pair of eyes on the road, alerting you of traffic conditions and weather.
- Recognizing the potential problems, many states have banned using cell phones and text messaging while driving and others may require hands-free devices.
- Many businesses now prohibit their employees from using cell phones while driving.
Cummins Inc., a diesel engine technology company based in Columbus, Ind., instituted a cell phone ban for employees. Their case study explains the reasoning behind and benefits of their program.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 14 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws, meaning an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place. The organization also provides information about other cell phone use and text messaging restrictions at the same link.
Organizations that promote safe driving urge all drivers to take the pledge to drive phone-free. The National Safety Council offers an online form and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a downloadable copy.
Additional information about the dangers of distracted driving is available on the official U.S. government website for distracted driving, distraction.gov. It offers materials designed specifically for a variety of audiences: teens, parents, educators, employers and community groups.