Distracted driving

To the Editor:

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and it’s safe to say distracted driving has become a relevant issue over the last few years deserving attention and education. With drivers both young and old on the streets, staying attentive on the road is more important than ever.

In 2013, there were 3,154 deaths in relation to distracted driving. Distracted driving is not limited to using a mobile device, but also includes eating, drinking, grooming and talking to passengers. Smartphone devices can be paired with wireless accessories to increase safety and maintain productivity on the road.

According to a survey, 43 percent of smartphone owners use their device while driving while 34 percent of smartphone users get annoyed at others for doing so. That same survey also shows that 74 percent of those who use their phone while driving utilize a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset or in-car Bluetooth system.

Safety is of utmost importance to U.S. Cellular, and we feel confident that wireless technology can enhance and simplify our everyday lives, creating a positive, safe driving experience. Whether on the go or relaxing at home, safety precautions can be taken to ensure mobile devices keep users safely connected with friends and family nationwide.

We recommend the following tips to stay attentive and safe at the wheel.

Take away distractions. It is easy to be distracted by the phone buzzing in the console. If the noise is too disruptive, switch to the do not disturb mode during drive time. Friends and family will understand the commitment to limit distractions.

Utilize accessories. Hands-free head sets allow drivers to carry on a conversation during a commute easily and conveniently.

Prepare yourself beforehand. Enter the address into the GPS on a smartphone before hitting the road. Make sure to place your mobile device in a spot where directional prompting can be heard to prevent missing a turn.

Enlist the help of passengers if it can’t wait. Remember, distracted driving not only affects personal safety, but also impacts the safety of others. Passengers can help if a message or phone call absolutely can’t wait. If driving alone, consider pulling off the road briefly to use a device.

Make a family commitment not to text and drive. With the popularity of texting, it is no surprise that 87 percent of smartphone owners text daily. Cell phone companies such as ours allow families to create a customizable contract with family members to make the conversation easier and clearer. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, even when it comes to bringing smartphones into the car.

Matt Kasper

U.S. Cellular


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