"Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel..."
                -- Road House Blues, The Doors

Often times when I'm stuck in traffic biding my time while waiting to make a left turn, I'll count the number of drivers passing me on their cell phones. My count invariably hits double digits.

It's easy to tell when someone has a mobile phone pressed up to his or her ear. It's tougher to tell which drivers have their phones in their laps checking e-mail, surfing the web or texting. These are all dumb behaviours but all commonly conducted  by "smart phone" users.

How dumb is it?

A recent study by Harris Interactive and State Farm found that while 55 percent of 14 to 17 year olds said they "strongly agree" they could be killed if they drink and drive. Yet, only 36 percent feel as strongly that they could die if they text and drive.

Car accidents are the number one killer of teens and deadly accidents involving drivers distracted by cell phone use, a relatively new national statistic, were blamed for nearly 1,000 vehicular killings in 2009.

OSHA Takes on Texting and Driving
As part of Drive Safely Work Week earlier this month, Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an education campaign calling on employers to prevent work-related distracted driving, with a special focus on prohibiting texting while driving.

"Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "There's no question that new communications technologies are helping businesses work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving."

I couldn't agree more. Trying to stay connected via a "smart phone" while driving is just plain dumb. I would further recommend against texting while operating a bandsaw.

As a business owner or manager of a wood products company or an industrysupplier, what do you tell your delivers or installers about the use of cell phones when driving? I trust you say "DON'T."

The time may come when I'm the guy behind your truck with the statement boldly displayed at the rear: "How is my driving?" If you are the driver of such a truck and I suspect your cell phone use contributed to cutting me off the road, don't be surprised if I call the 800 number listed on your truck to complain.

Of course, being the guy who just wrote this blog, I'll be sure to pull over before making my irate call.

Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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