U.S. Cellular: Don’t Be Driven To Distraction, Safety Tips to Keep Attention on the Road

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (April 9, 2018) – Staying in touch with friends and family while on the go is important, but being on your smartphone, among other distractions, while driving could be dangerous. In West Virginia it is unlawful West Virginia is one of the few states that have a hand-held cell phone use ban for all drivers. Like many other states, West Virginia prohibits all drivers from texting, and bans novice drivers from all cell phone use according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), about 4.57 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, and fatalities topped 40,000 for the third straight year. In West Virginia, fatalities were up 13 percent year over year in 2017. Distracted driving is one of the top two leading causes of accidents.

Many people recognize distractors including texting and using apps for directions when using a smartphone, but eating, grooming, smoking, adjusting vehicle settings, driving when tired or being lost in thought can be hazardous as well. Fortunately, there are ways that drivers can avoid many of these distractions, and parents can monitor teen drivers to ensure better safety using the latest in wireless technology. “This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we’re shining a light on the importance of practicing safe driving habits and discussing road rules with teens and adults,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “One way to start the discussion is with U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child agreement which helps teens and parents set family rules and expectations. Having these talks up front can go a long way in preventing distracted driving in the future.” U.S. Cellular provides tips to avoid being driven to distraction: • Don’t Text and Drive. Many apps enable you to automate prompts by voice commands. Drivemode for Android devices can send automatic text replies and simplify driving by activating your favorite apps through voice commands. Voice-activated technology is also available on navigational apps like WAZE so that your eyes can stay on the road and hands on the wheel while getting directions. Additionally, you can put any smartphone in “Do Not Disturb” mode to completely avoid calls or texts while behind the wheel. • Go Hands Free. A U.S. Cellular study shows that 71 percent of smartphone users use a hands free device such as a Bluetooth handset while driving.1 If it’s imperative to talk on the phone while driving, many cars now offer Bluetooth calling options through the vehicle’s speakers. Other choices are a Bluetooth ear bud speaker or an in-car device that can covert most car radios into a Bluetooth speaker. • Monitor Progress. Parents can monitor driving habits through helpful tools such as CruiseConnect. With this tool, parents can set and receive boundary alerts, track their vehicles in real time and monitor family driving behavior through analysis of unsafe driving, such as texting while driving, harsh braking and speeding. Additionally, families can view trip history, track fuel usage and monitor vehicle health and manufacturer recalls. It also turns the vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot for family travel. • Be Committed. U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child agreement allows families to create a customizable contract with family members to make the conversation about driving responsibilities easier and clearer. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, whether you are driving, at the family dinner table or school, and it helps set the rules and expectations for everyone. ¹ Between Nov. 8-17, 2017, a total of 706 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.

About U.S. Cellular U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier offers coverage where the other carriers don’t and a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. For the fourth time in a row, U.S. Cellular has the Highest Wireless Network Quality Performance, according to J.D. Power’s twice-annual U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study, and 99 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or http://www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.