Did you know that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month?

Author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore founded the event in 2002 with the intent to encourage cellphone users to be more respectful of their surroundings by using some simple cellphone etiquette principles, according to EtiquetteExpert.com.

According to some, the cellphone is one of the greatest inventions of our time, but as the cellphone has developed into the smartphone, it's also one of the greatest distractions.  It's not just the loud conversations you are forced to listen to or the nerve-jangling sound of a custom ring tone, but even worse in our society today: being ignored due to texting.

Cellphone usage is also to blame for injuries and deaths on our roads.  Cellphone use is now estimated to be involved in 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes - up from the previous year, according to the National Safety Council.  It also states that an estimated 5 percent of crashes involve texting, while 21 percent involve drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cellphones.

It raises the question, can cellphone courtesy even exist?  Whitmore offers these steps to avoid offending others:

Be all there.

When you're in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption. In some instances, turning your phone off may be the best solution.

Keep it private.

Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.

Keep your cool.  Don't display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.

Learn to vibe.  Use your wireless phone's silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you do not disrupt your surroundings.