Carry On, Friend!

Cell Mates

Cellular courtesy makes for harmonious traveling.

When you're traveling, your cell phone is likely your best friend, particularly when you're rushing to make a call or two in between meetings. But while you're chatting away, you could be annoying others or, if you're driving, even endangering lives. That's partly why nationwide, legislators are pondering new rules that would limit the use of cell phones and, in some circumstances, ban them altogether. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 22 states have proposed bills concerning cell phones in automobiles since 1995. Brooklyn, Ohio, has restricted cell phone usage to drivers who can maintain two hands on the wheel.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently conducted a study in which analysts examined the cellular phone bills of 699 drivers who were involved in crashes; they found that the risk of collision when using a cell phone was four times higher than when the phone wasn't being used. To play it safe--and sensible--with your cell phone, note these common-sense steps:

1. Avoid talking on the phone while driving. It's dangerous, and in some places, it's illegal. If you must use the phone, try a voice-recognition dialing service.

2. In public places, keep your voice down--even if the connection is bad.

3. Be aware of your surroundings. Talking and walking in the airport can lead to collisions with other passengers.

Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Carry On, Friend!.

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