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Cellphone safety saves lives

Practicing cell phone safety while operating a vehicle makes motorists more aware of their surroundings, ultimately leading to safer driving conditions and less fatalities.

Practicing cell phone safety while operating a vehicle makes motorists more aware of their surroundings, ultimately leading to safer driving conditions and less fatalities.

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- There is a growing nationwide problem with distracted driving. With the advent of smartphones and wireless technology, being connected is a constant reality. This constant connection is turning fatal when people try to operate their vehicles while using their cellphones, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Recent studies have found that operating a vehicle while using a cellphone is just as dangerous as operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

"According to a study conducted by IAM, social networking while driving is responsible for more accidents than drunk driving," said Master Sgt. Carlos Rogers, Space Wing Safety superintendent. "One out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving."

On Buckley Air Force Base, using a cellphone while operating a vehicle is prohibited because it impairs a persons driving and masks their ability to be situationally aware on the roadway. Not only are they putting themselves at risk, but they are also putting other motorists and people at risk because their ability to react and understand road conditions is impaired.

According to Staff Sgt. Micah P. Schweinsberg, 460th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of physical security, a motorist will face a driving suspension as well as points on their license if caught using their cellphone while operating a vehicle on base.

There are many ways to use a cellphone safely and properly when driving.

"Cellphones and smart phones are incredibly useful and convenient tools when used appropriately and responsibly," Rogers said. "Their use of social networking when driving is neither."

Some safety tips to practice cellphone safety and to prevent unnecessary accidents or fatalities include:

-  Pull off the road into a safe parking area to make or answer a call

-  Do not send text messages or try to read incoming messages while driving

-  Use a hands free device like a Bluetooth headset or earpiece that provides the ability to talk while both hands remain on the wheel

-  Without a hands free device, abstain from holding a cellphone while actively driving

Practicing cellphone safety while operating a vehicle makes motorists more aware of their surroundings, ultimately leading to safer driving conditions and less fatalities.
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