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Cell Phone Safety
Monday, February 22, 2016

Cell Phone Safety

Tips for Safe Driving with Cell Phones

On the Road: Keep Technology Hazards at Bay

The U.S. is a nation comprised of high-speed multi-taskers. But multi-tasking while you’re driving? If you can’t logically sort it out for yourself there are plenty of studies that show any distraction that interrupts a driver’s concentration is potentially dangerous. Take your eyes off the road for a second and incidents can happen.  Anything that interrupts the driver’s concentration is potentially unsafe, that includes changing a CD, changing the radio station, eating, drinking, and carrying on a conversation with a passenger, among a list of other common practices.

In an effort to hammer into drivers’ heads the issues attached to driving while talking or texting on a cell phone, insurance companies, businesses and corporations, private non-profit safety organizations, and cell phone manufacturers and wireless providers have all made valiant efforts to publicize the risks associated with these distractions.

General Tips for Driving Safer with Cell Phones

Tip lists for safe driving with cell phones range from simplistic to profoundly conservative. Corporate cell phone policies err on the side of conservative with extensive dos and don’ts intended to protect large corporations from dire economic liability. Most general safety lists include some or all of the following:

  • Abstain from talking on a cell phone while you are actively driving.
  • If you need to answer a call or make one, try and pull off the road into a safe parking area.
  • Make sure your phone is within easy reach, not in the glove compartment or a purse where you might have to dig for it.
  • Use a hand’s free device like a Bluetooth headset or earpiece that allows you to talk while both hands remain on the wheel.
  • Hands-free or not, postpone conversations that are either emotional or complex.
  • Prior to getting on the road, practice driving while using your hands-free device in an open parking lot so you know how to use it properly without fumbling.
  • Do not send a text message, IM or try and read incoming messages while driving.
  • Shop for the latest models of phones that feature voice activated dialing and speed dialing.
  • Use your cell phone only in the event of an emergency in which you need help or someone else needs help.

The Cellular and Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) maintains statistics relevant to cell phone users as well as the wireless industry. The company estimates that over 230,000 911 calls are logged each day from cell phone operators. Many of these calls are motorists. Before cell phones a motorist would have had to pull off the road and find a pay phone before a 911 emergency could be reported. So, while cell phones certainly provide us with numerous advantages, knowing when, where, and how to utilize them appropriately, safely, and legally is paramount.

Maryland Law

Maryland prohibits texting and use of handheld cell phones for all drivers. Novice drivers in Maryland - drivers who have learners permits or intermediate/provisional licenses, or are younger than 18 – are prohibited from using cellphones (handheld or hands-free) while driving.

All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.

Speaker phones, wired headsets, blutetooth wireless devices, and installed car kits are permissible.

Fines for violating Maryland’s cell phone laws range from $40 to $100. Maryland’s texting law is considered “primary” law. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.  Maryland’s cell phone laws are secondary laws. A secondary law refers to the fact that an officer can only pull you over and issue a ticket if the officer has witnessed some other violation – for example, you ran a stop light while using a handheld cell phone.

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Stay Safe Out There!! 

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