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- March 3, 2020 by Paula Tetrault (View all posts by Paula)

Have you or someone you know been a victim of crime while using your cell phone?  Have you caused a traffic accident or been involved in a traffic accident because someone was using a cell phone?  How many times has someone bumped into you while crossing the street or taking a walk?  Think about all these scenarios, and we begin to see the number of accidents involving cell phones rising.

Everyone has at least one cell phone and there are so many safety issues to consider both as an employer and cell phone user.  We are all aware of the dangers of using cell phones while driving.  There is an epidemic of distracted driving and in many states; there are laws that prohibit texting and using a handheld cell phone while driving.  A good company policy is to ban the use of handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle – whether the vehicle is in motion or stopped at a traffic light.  This includes, but not limited to, engaging in phone conversations, reading or responding to emails, instant and text messages.

The TV show Mythbusters demonstrated that talking on a cell phone while driving a car is as dangerous (more dangerous, actually) than driving while under the influence of alcohol. Turning cell phones off or setting it to vibrate is by far the safest practice to further reduce distractions.

 If you need to use your phone while on the road, choose a SAFE location to stop the car.  DO NOT just pull over to the side of the road. Here some tips:

  • Only stop if you know the neighborhood/area.
  • Look for suspicious activities before stopping.
  • Drive to a new location before making the call when in doubt about your safety.
  • Find a well-populated and well-lit parking lot (police station parking lots are good).
  • Never pull over onto the side of a road (unless it is into a designated parking space).
  • Stop the car and put it into park before talking; driving slowly in the parking lot or holding the brake pedal is not a good idea.
  • Lock all doors before you start the phone conversation.
  • While on the phone and parked, continue to remain attentive and be ready to leave if you feel uncomfortable.

Driving and cell phone use is certainly the most well-known hazard; however, the National Safety Council has recently added distracted walking to its annual report of unintentional deaths and injuries.  Emergency rooms see more than 2,000 patients annually due to distracted walking injuries and 54% of adult cellphone users walk into something or someone causing injury.  The Federal Highway Administration has reported a 15% increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009 – caused by distracted walking (over 70% of the accidents involved males).  If you must walk and text the safer way is to use the voice command on the phone.

Cell phones are now a way of life. Following a few safety rules will keep us all safer from crime, while driving and walking! 

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