Cell Phones Distracting to Drivers

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Drivers talking on cell phones are just about everywhere. But police say just because a driver talks on the phone frequently while driving that doesn't make their risk of getting in an accident any less great. In fact, it only takes seconds for an accident for occur.

Trooper Dathan Tarrence, with Kentucky State Police says, "They can look away for two seconds and in two seconds, travel 80-90 feet down the roadway depending on what speed their going. And a lot of things can happen if they are not paying attention to their surrounding. Traffic, pedestrians, even animals."

At a busy Bowling Green intersection we counted numerous drivers talking on their cell phones. Circuit Judge, Steve Wilson, wants people to hang up and drive.

Judge Wilson says, "When we first saw cell phones, we thought, it's the same thing as listening to the radio. That's not what the studies show. Studies show it is a distraction to our driving. We know that."

When Wilson was Commonwealth Attorney, he encouraged law enforcement to charge drivers responsible for causing an accident while on their cell phones with harsher charges.

Kentucky State Police say it’s comparable to driving while intoxicated. "Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs slows down your perception time and your reaction time. The same thing goes for people talking on a cell phone," says Trooper Tarrence.

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Cellular Phone Safe Driving Tips

  • Safe driving is your first priority. Always buckle up, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

  • Make sure that your phone is positioned where it is easy to see and easy to reach. Be familiar with the operation of your phone, so that you're comfortable using it on the road.

  • Use a hands-free microphone while driving. Make sure your phone is dealer-installed to get the best possible sound quality.

  • Use the speed dialing feature to program in frequently called numbers. Then you can make a call by touching only two or three buttons. Most phones will store up to 99 numbers.

  • When dialing manually without the speed dialing feature, dial only when stopped. If you can't stop, or pull over, dial a few digits, then survey traffic before completing the call. (Better yet, have a passenger dial.)

  • Never take notes while driving. Pull off the road to jot something down; if it's a phone number, many mobile phones have an electronic scratchpad that allows you to key in a new number while having a conversation.

  • Let your wireless network's voice mail pick up your calls when it's inconvenient or unsafe to answer the car phone. You can even use your voice mail to leave yourself reminders.

  • Be a cellular Samaritan. Dialing 9-1-1 is a free call for cellular subscribers; use it to report crimes in progress or other potential life-threatening emergencies, accidents or drunk driving.

Source: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/wireless/c6.htm(Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association).