Ten Tips for Cell Phone Courtesy
by Martin Cohn

I have owned a cell phone since the early eighties. I have come to truly appreciate them as great communication tools. In fact, it’s hard for me to remember life without them.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of 911 calls placed by people using wireless phones has significantly increased. The FTC estimates that about 50 percent of the millions of 911 calls placed daily are from wireless phones. This ability to call 911 for help in an emergency is a wonderful reason to own a cell phone. Also, cell phones make it easy to be a “Good Samaritans” by reporting traffic accidents, crimes or other emergencies.

But, there’s something wrong when you use it when standing on a line at a bank, post office or coffee shop.

Given my decades of experience and the prevalence of cell phones today, I offer the following ten tips on how to avoid annoying others.

1. Turn your phone off when you are in a meeting, show or other public area.

2. If you can’t turn your cell phone off when in public, at least turn it to vibrate.

3. Don’t discuss private information in a public area.

4. Don’t have an emotional conversation in public.

5. Cell phone technology is so good that you don’t have to yell into it to be heard.

6. If you see a sign that restricts cell phone usage, understand that it applies to you.

7. The person you are with should take precedence over the call you are expecting. If you can’t postpone an anticipated phone call, let the folks you are with know about it ahead of time.

8. If you’re using your phone to listen to music or watch a movie, use an earpiece so others are not subjected to the noise.

9. If you have a phone with a “walkie talkie” feature, turn down the volume or use an earpiece.

10. If you must talk and drive, at least use a hands-free device.  And, if the call is distracting, pull over to have it.