Studies have shown that using cellphones behind the wheel — whether handheld or connected via earpiece or radio Bluetooth — is a distraction that raises the risk of an accident. We’ve written about this issue several times, noting that some HVAC construction and ductwork fabrication companies ban all use of cellphones on the job while others have few restrictions.
An editorial in Maine’s Portland Press Herald said that the best law would be one that banned all phone use by drivers, including calls made via hands-free devices. But the newspaper correctly noted that such a ban would likely be deeply unpopular and an outlier in the U.S. While 15 states ban handheld cellphone use while driving, no state bans all phone use behind the wheel, despite studies that say hands-free use is marginally safer at best. There’s no indication any states plan to ban all phone use by drivers anytime soon.
Personally, I avoid cellphone use, hands-free or otherwise, while driving. I have to admit, though, I do carry a small Bluetooth earpiece in my car and I have answered a call without a headset or earpiece on occasion (my home state of Michigan has no law against using handheld cellphones behind the wheel. Texting however, is illegal).
What do you think of cellphone use behind the wheel? Does your company have a policy? Is it well followed? How do you enforce it?