Cell phone restrictions not yet in place

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  • By AFMC News Service & AF Print News Report
New cell phone restrictions for drivers on Air Force installations will not be enforced at Air Force Materiel Command installations until union bargaining obligations have been satisfied, according to personnel and security forces staff at command headquarters.

The Department of Defense recently published changes to the Code of Federal Regulations, or CFR, that prohibit using cell phones while driving on DoD installations unless they are using a hands-free device. The changes are posted in the new DoD Joint Traffic Guidance and became effective Feb. 27.

AFMC installations, however, aren't expected to begin enforcement earlier than March 28, according to headquarters staff. AFMC installations will be notified once all union coordination is complete.

Under the new regulation, drivers are not allowed to talk on their cell phones while driving on Air Force installations unless using a hands-free device. This restriction also applies to all government-owned vehicles at all times.

"This is really a cooperative effort for everyone from the base populace to the base leaders," said Master Sgt. Gloria Ornelas, the superintendent of law enforcement at the Air Force Security Forces Center. "I think it is long overdue. The DoD recognized that, and we are now in line with what some states and municipalities are doing to create a safer environment for drivers."
While hands-free listening devices are permitted for cell phones, the regulation prohibits the use of other portable headphones, earphones or other listening devices while operating a motor vehicle. Use of those devices impairs driving and masks or prevents recognition of emergency signals, alarms, announcements, the approach of vehicles, and human speech, according to the regulation. DoD component safety guidance should note the potential for driver distractions such as eating and drinking, operating radios, CD players, global positioning equipment, etc. Whenever possible this should only be done when the vehicle is safely parked."
Using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device will be considered a "primary offense." This means violators will be able to be stopped solely for this offense.
Drivers who violate this cell phone driving restriction will be given three assessment points against their driving records or an appropriate fine depending on the state laws. Drivers should be aware that if two or more violations are committed, even on a single occasion, a ticket may be given to the driver for each violation.