At any given daylight moment in the United States, nearly 700,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA reports that an estimated 421,000 people were injured in auto accidents in 2012 involving a distracted driver, a 9 percent increase from the prior year. And 31 percent of American drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages while driving at least once within the 30 days prior to the survey.
Cell phones, and particularly smartphones, are considered one of the leading driver distractions. As a result, more communities are placing restrictions on drivers’ use of cell phones. You should always be aware of the state and community guidelines regarding the use of cell phones and hands-free devices.
The following tips are offered to motorists with regard to cell phone use in vehicles:
- You should wait until the car trip is complete before placing a call. Your cell phone’s voicemail feature should answer a call while you are driving.
- Consider keeping the cell phone completely out of reach in your car to keep the temptations from usage at bay.
- Absolutely essential calls should only be performed while stopped. However, it is not wise to pull over on the side of the road where a rear-end collision is possible. Instead, you should pull into a parking lot to perform this task.
- If you have to make a call, take advantage of speed-dialing capabilities.
- At a minimum, you should never drive and talk on the cell phone during stressful, emotional, or complex discussions since the risk of an accident is heightened during such times.
- You should never text message while driving.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.
Senior Personal Lines Underwriter