by Reed Berry, "The Traffic Guy"

OK, so everyone loves talking on their cell phones but did you know that doing it can be hazardous to your health?  No, I'm not talking about the news reports you have heard in the past that associate cell phone usage with brain tumors.  I'm referring to the injuries that can result from talking on the cell phone while driving! There's no doubt about it, it's DANGEROUS!  How many times have you seen another driver start to drift into another lane of traffic (maybe yours) and then when you look over at them what do you see?  You got it, a cell phone! They are more interested in their conversation than in obeying the rules of the road.  Hard to believe, but cutting that big business deal or asking their spouse what to pick up at the grocery store becomes more important at that moment than their own safety.

Can you get a ticket for talking on a cell phone while driving, you ask. YES!   Many countries as well as many cities and states across America have made it illegal to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving.  In states where there is no law against holding a cell phone while driving, police officers can ticket you for unsafe driving.  In other words, if you are doing something other than driving while driving (holding a cell phone, putting on lipstick, reading a map or book, etc.) and you are driving unsafely as a result of such activities, you may receive a ticket.

Attention California Drivers
California's cell phone laws have been in effect since 2008. You may not drive while using a hand-held cell phone except in an emergency situation. You will need to use a speaker phone or headset. Drivers under 18 will be prohibited from using a cell phone PERIOD, except in an emergency situation. Click here to read about the cell phone law. All drivers in California are prohibited from texting while operating a motor vehicle unless (per a new law that took effect in 2013) it can be done entirely using hands-free voice-activation technology.

To make your day a little safer and your life a little easier, here are some cell phone safety tips:

  • Try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary.
  • Use a "hands-free" or speaker phone accessory (these are available for most if not all hand-held cell phones).  Not only does this allow you to keep your hands on the  wheel and your eyes on the road, but using a hands-free kit keeps the phone further from your head reducing  exposure to the alleged tumor-causing radiation.
  • Never read or write text messages while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for a second or two can result in a collision. Pull over to the side of the road if you must text.
  • Program frequently called numbers into your phone's memory allowing you to keep dialing to a minimum.
  • If you must dial when the car is moving, hold the phone at eye level so you will have a clear view of the road.
  • Do not make emotional phone calls while driving (quitting your job,  breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.) as you will be focused primarily on the call rather than your driving.
  • Never read or write while the car is moving.  If you must write a note or take down a phone number during a conversation, PULL OVER!
  • Make sure your phone is within easy reach while driving.
  • Be careful when pulling over to place calls. To avoid being a crime victim, do not stop in dangerous areas and keep your car doors locked.
  • If your phone is connected to your car's power source, disconnect your phone before using jumper cables.  The power surge could damage your phone.
  • Make sure 911 is programmed into your phone's memory should you need to report an accident or other emergency.
Following these helpful tips and obeying the cellphone laws in your area will make you a safer driver. You will avoid tickets and collisions, thereby allowing you to continue enjoying low car insurance rates!

If you are looking for information on cell phone plans, you may wish to check out the benefits of each one. Many people benefit from T-Mobile prepaid phone plans that they can refill each month. Just remember...no matter what kind of call you get while driving, whether itís work or personal, do not allow that call to take your focus away from safe driving.

Watch Reed's Driving Safety Tips on

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