Driving factors Featured

9:56am EDT July 22, 2002

There has been a growing concern regarding the use of wireless phones by drivers. Insurance companies and safety officials have done studies looking at how much, if any, wireless phones contribute to accident rates. Brooklyn, Ohio, has even enacted legislation making it illegal to talk on a wireless phone while driving.

With that in mind, AirTouch Cellular offers the following safety tips to keep you both safe and in touch:

  • Drivers should focus their vision on the road, not the phone. By becoming familiar with your cellular phone before using it in the car, and using programmable features such as speed dialing, drivers can use the phone without taking their eyes off of traffic.

  • Drivers should plan ahead for calls that need complex dialing sequences. By pulling over to make such calls, drivers give themselves a break while maintaining their schedule safely.

  • Don’t try to take notes while driving and using a cellular phone. If a piece of information is vital, ask your caller to dial back to your voice mail and leave a message. Or call your pre-programmed number and leave a voice mail for yourself before the information is forgotten.

  • Let voice mail pick up incoming calls if you’re in a tough driving situation, such as very poor weather or congested traffic.

  • Use your cellular phone to enhance other drivers’ safety. You can be a “good Samaritan” by reporting the location of a breakdown to authorities, or by phoning traffic conditions to published call-in numbers.

  • When traveling with another driver, let the other person drive while you make needed calls. You can return the favor.

  • To avoid accidental injury, don’t hold your telephone between your body and an airbag location such as a steering wheel center or the passenger side dashboard.

Dialing numbers

The Cellular Telephone Industry Association recently did a survey examining various aspects of wireless phone use. Consider:

  • In December 1987, the average local monthly bill was $96.83, but by December 1998, with the average local call length virtually unchanged, the average bill had fallen to $39.43

  • In 1985, there were 340,213 cellular subscribers. By 1998, that number had soared to 69,209,321.

  • In 1986, there were 1,531 cell sites in commercial use. In 1998, there were 65,887.

  • In 1986, there were 4,334 people directly employed by wireless service providers. Today, that number is more than 134,753. The wireless industry now accounts for 1.3 million jobs in the U.S. economy.