I received a free CELLslip in exchange for writing a review of this product. All opinions are my own.
When a motorist on a cell phone rolled through a stop sign and right into the rear-end of his wife’s vehicle with his three young children inside, Mitch Bain wasted no time in launching CELLslip.
His wife sustained minor injuries and his children weren’t hurt. But the incident catapulted an idea he’d been tinkering with. Today, he’s sold more than 50,000 CELLslips to try and put a dent in the distracted driving epidemic.
“People don’t realize the danger until it happens to a family member or a loved one or they get hit themselves. It’s sad; 25% of auto crashes are related to cell phone use and that is under-reported… that’s just what they can prove,” says Bain, from his home in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
As a mom of two teenagers who are learning to drive, CELLslip immediately caught my attention. Here is a simple tool that helps drive home the message that safe driving means staying off their phones.
And, let’s be honest, it’s not just our teens. We all start out with the best of intentions, but checking our phone while driving can quickly become a bad habit.
I’ve come to learn that many distracted driver apps don’t work very well and even “hands-free” is not recommended by most Driver Training programs.
Here’s how CELLslip works: The red case, made of RFID, blocks your cell phone’s signal so it won’t ring or vibrate while it’s in the case. But, don’t worry…you won’t miss any of your texts, voice mails or app notifications. As soon as you remove it from the case, they all appear. Watch this video for a demonstration.
“What my goal is with CELLslip, is to help people build a habit where hopefully they don’t need it anymore. They know they’re not going to touch their phone until they’re in park or somewhere safe,” says Bain.
Distracted driving is considered to be six times more dangerous than driving drunk and it’s a phenomenon that’s on the rise in Alberta, and elsewhere. There were just over 27,000 distracted driving convictions in Alberta in 2014-15, a number that’s gone up over the years, despite distracted driving legislation coming into effect in 2011.
The penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $287 fine and three demerit points. In California, Alabama and Virginia, the penalty is as low as a $20 fine.
With our phone addiction quickly becoming a deadly threat on roads across North America, Bain has partnered with high schools, hospitals, police departments, insurance companies and various safety organizations to distribute CELLslips to as many drivers as possible.
When AAA in Minneapolis heard of his idea, it immediately ordered 3,000 CELLslips to hand out to new drivers. His product is also endorsed by PADD – People Against Distracted Driving. The founder of PADD, Mike Kellenyi, lost his daughter Nikki in a distracted driving incident.
So, I wanted to give it a try. As someone who is guilty of the odd “I’m just going check my phone at this stop light…,” I wanted to see if CELLslip would work for me.
On my first drive with CELLslip, I felt a sense of relief. It’s hard to explain, but I liked knowing that I wouldn’t be interrupted or disturbed. It’s similar to the feeling I had (and wrote about here) on No Phone Family Day back in February, when we gave up our cell phones for a day.
I turned on my favorite talk radio station and immediately became immersed in the conversation. When I stopped to drop off my daughter, I pulled my phone out of the CELLslip and ‘checked in’ with my husband and other children. Then, I popped it back in the case and resumed driving. It really is so simple. Now, I keep the pouch in my car and use it every time I drive. The phone is no longer sitting on my lap or on the middle console.
I really like CELLslip for a number of reasons:
- it’s not expensive – $14.95
- it’s simple — no apps, bells or whistles to set. It’s kind of old school
- it provides a visual reminder
- it provides a physical barrier between you and your phone. Getting your phone off your body is the first step in breaking the addiction.
- CELLslip uses the strategy of inconvenience — Author Gretchen Rubin, who studies habits and happiness in her book Better than Before, writes that one of the best ways to foster a new and healthy habit, is to make the bad habit inconvenient. That’s what CellSlip does. It makes it inconvenient to check your phone while driving…it takes the phone out of your lap and your hand.
Now, here is where I’m still struggling. When I’m using CELLslip, I can’t use Google Maps on my phone to get me where I’m going. In cases like this, Mitch says use GPS responsibly for the 10% of the time you need it. Stats show 90% of our driving is done in our local communities where we don’t need GPS.
CELLslip alone won’t solve this problem, but I applaud Bain for raising awareness of this issue. Until legislation catches up and drivers smarten up, I think these little red pouches should have a place in everyone’s vehicle.
You can order a CELLslip here and shipping to Canada is FREE!