Cellular telephone information

There has been a huge growth in the number of cellular telephones being used in motor vehicles in recent years. Such cellular communication equipment can either be completely portable, mounted permanently in a vehicle (mobile) or a combination of mounted and portable.

Cellular telephones in motor vehicles may be for personal pleasure or convenience, for business or for the primary purpose of safety and security. Every day there are examples of cellular telephones being used to call for assistance in the event of a vehicle breakdown or other personal emergency, to contact police and other emergency personnel, and to report drunk drivers, auto accidents and criminal activity.

The use of cellular telephones can also be distracting and directly or indirectly lead to motor vehicle accidents. The following are a number of tips or recommendations for talking and driving safety:

* Make sure your cellular telephone is positioned where it is easy to see and easy to reach.

* Be familiar with the operation of the telephone, so you are comfortable using it on the road.

* It is best to dial the telephone when the vehicle is not moving, such as at a stop sign or stop light.

* Use a hands-free microphone while driving.

* Use the speed dialing feature to program frequently called numbers. This enables the user to make a call by touching only one or two buttons. Most telephones will store up to 99 numbers.

* Never take notes while driving. Pull off the road to jot something down. If it’s a telephone number, many mobile phones have an electronic scratch pad that allows keying in a new number while having a conversation.

* Let the wireless network’s voice mail pick up calls when its inconvenient or unsafe to answer the car phone. You can even use your voice mail to leave yourself reminders.

* Use the voice activated dialing feature where available to place a call so you don’t have to dial. To use it, you simply have to say the name, such as “home” or “office” to be immediately connected to personal directory listings.

If you see a crime
Be a “Cellular Samaritan.” Dialing 911 is usually free for cellular subscribers. Use it to report crimes in progress or other potentially life-threatening emergencies, accidents or drunk driving.

For further information on this or others safety topics please contact the University of Florida Police Department’s Community Services Division at 392-1409.