The Curry Coastal Pilot

It's common knowledge that it's dangerous to use a cell phone while driving, but plenty of people still do it.

We know. We hear calls daily on the police scanner of drivers being stopped and warned or cited for doing it. We also look out our front window at the thousands of vehicles on Highway 101 (Chetco Avenue) and see too many drivers using cell phones.

Research is definitive on the risk of driving while using a phone, even comparing it to driving while intoxicated. Studies show drivers using phones are four times more likely to crash than other drivers, a likelihood equal to that of a drunk driver, according to The New York Times.

Other activities that can divert motorists attention include reading maps or other materials, personal grooming, eating and drinking, and tending to children or pets.

The Oregon Department of Transportation offers the following tips to prevent distractions. Pull over to use a cell phone or let a passenger handle a call. Make use of technology with a hands-free device. Preset your vehicle's climate control, radio or mp3 device before heading out. Do any personal grooming before getting behind the wheel. Keep pets restrained to the back area. If you are hungry or thirsty, take a break.

Being distracted while driving carries greater consequences than a $250 fine. It can ultimately cost a life.

And no phone call is worth that.