Operating a motor vehicle safely requires concentration, focus, and awareness of constantly changing surroundings. Electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets can take your focus away from the road and increase the risk of accidents.
Several state laws have changed effective January 1, 2017, regarding cell phones. Many states have passed laws that prohibit hand-held cell phone usage while driving. Check with your local jurisdictions to determine applicable cell phone laws.
A comprehensive policy regarding the use of electronic devices should be included in your organization’s fleet safety program, and it should include the following minimum guidelines:
- Familiarize yourself with the device’s controls: Know how to program your speed dial and use the speaker phone, voice activation, and redial features, as well as other safety functions.
- Have someone else make calls: If passengers are present, allow them to make and answer calls for you.
- Use a hands-free device with your phone: Hands-free accessories are available for most devices, and many vehicles include built-in hands-free systems. If using these systems, connect them before starting to drive. However, please note that your attention will still be impaired.
- Never text or type when driving: Texting or typing while driving takes your eyes off the road as well as your hands off the wheel.
- Pull over if you cannot wait: If you must make or answer a call, text, or email, pull your vehicle over to a safe and legal location off of the road before doing so.