02/16/06 — New cell phone rule coming for driving on base

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New cell phone rule coming for driving on base

By Turner Walston
Published in News on February 16, 2006 2:06 PM

Driving while using your cell phone on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base could get you a ticket after Feb. 27 if your hands aren't on the steering wheel.

The Department of Defense has amended its Joint Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision Regulation to require drivers who use cell phones at the base to use hands-free devices, said Maj. Erik Rundquist, 4th Security Forces commander at Seymour Johnson, in a prepared statement from the base.

The idea is to cut down on driver distractions at military installations, he said.

"Using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving will be considered a primary offense," Rundquist said. "This means you can be pulled over solely for this offense."

The new rule also emphasizes that using portable headphones, earphones or other listening devices other than hands-free cellular phones while operating a motor vehicles is prohibited.

Violators will be assessed a minimum of three points on their base driving record, he added.

But the deterrent is not the main reason to adhere to the new rules, Rundquist said.

"More important than the punishment is the fact that this is critical for the safety of our families who live and work on Seymour. The enforcement of this new policy is not just a Security Forces concern. Everyone needs to help spread the word and work to educate those around them."

And the new rules are not just for the airmen, either, said Capt. Allen Herritage of the 4th Fighter Wing public affairs office.

"It's important not only for our airmen to be aware of the new rules, but also retirees and local officials that visit Seymour on a regular basis," he said.