Safety Information Center
Cell Phones

Cell Phones
Driving & Cell Phones Don’t Mix

Cellular phones seem to be almost standard equipment for many Americans. But driving demands complete attention. We conducted the National Driving Habits Survey of drivers across the country to gain some insight into driving habits. The survey bore out the fact that there is no room for distractions if you want to be a safe driver. It found that far too many drivers are taking their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel and their minds off of driving. The National Transportation Safety Administration found that cellular phone use while driving increases the risk of a crash.

Don’t phone while driving

Driving requires your full and complete attention. Distractions can cause you to veer off into other lanes, ignore speed limits, miss changing traffic signals and not notice the driving of others on the road and other dangerous situations — potentially with lethal consequences. It is best to pull off to the side of the road to make a phone call. If you receive or need to make a call while driving, the first things to do are: a) assess the traffic conditions, b) plan your move off the road and c) answer or make the call.

Take it easy

Dialing and answering a call are just the two most obvious driving distractions of cell phone usage. But don’t underestimate the distractions involved in having a deeply engaging conversation while driving. Paying attention to the road and those around you may be difficult, if not impossible, if you are devoting too much attention to your conversation. A car traveling at 60 miles an hour is not the place to engage in major business or personal issues.

Rely on the kindness of friends

Have a passenger in your car take or make the call for you. (They’re going to hear everything you say anyway.)

Get a little familiar

If you rarely use the phone, familiarize yourself with its functions before using it in a car. Know which buttons turn it on and off and how to dial and send.

Secure it

When not in use, keep your phone in a phone cradle to avoid it from becoming a dangerous projectile in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

Know the law

Several municipalities and states are imposing restrictions and prohibitions on cell phone use while driving or authorizing only "hands-free" phones. Know the law of your community and those of the areas in which you travel.

This article was prepared by Direct Response Corporation, as a service to you. The National Driving Habits Surveys were sponsored by Direct Response Corporation and conducted October 14-17, 1999, April 27-30, 2000, May 3-6, 2001, and August 18-21, 2005.