It is estimated at the end of 2008 there were 4 billion cell phone users worldwide. Can you hear me now?, the catchphrase used by Verizon, has become part of our culture. Cell phone use has expanded into every activity in our lives, from emergency communication to picking products from a grocery shelf. It sometimes seems people have no idea what to do with a spare moment other than make a cell phone call.
Whether you are in the presence of a user or you use a cell phone personally, using the phone is a significant distraction. Being distracted while driving, while operating tools and equipment, when walking across the street, when in public or at work, increases the risk of injuries and crashes.
Researchers have compared the level of distraction to a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Research also has shown that a cell phone conversation while driving is a greater distraction than conversing with a passenger. Drivers reacted significantly slower to unexpected events in the first two minutes of the phone conversation and are, for a large part of the conversation, unaware of traffic movements around them.
Many states have banned the use of cell phones without a hands-free device. Although that may help a little, the distraction is still present. Your best bet is to pull over to the side of the road or pull into a parking lot if you must have the conversation.
Additionally, never utilize your cell phone out on our production floor. Go to an office, outside or the cafeteria to make the call.