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Using mobile phone while driving nixed

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, nev. -- Driving while using a cell phone on base is now prohibited unless a hands-free device is used.

The new directive came down from the Department of Defense’s Joint Traffic Guidance and is being implemented throughout the Air Force as a safety measure.

The restriction also applies to all government owned vehicles, at all times, on or off base.

“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 for Air Force Security Forces.

The wearing of any other portable headphones, earphones or other listening devices (except for hands-free cellular phones) while operating a motor vehicle is prohibited. Use of those devices impairs driving and masks or prevents recognition of emergency signals, alarms, announcements, the approach of vehicles, and human speech.

The hands-free device used may not cover both ears.

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. Any driver accumulating more than 12 points in a year, for any combination of offenses, will have their on-base driving privileges revoked.

“If you need to use your cell phone and a hands-free device is not available in the vehicle, just park your car in a safe spot, or wait until you get to your destination,” said Maj. Jon-Paul Mickle, commander of the 99th Security Forces Squadron.

Security Forces will conduct warnings through May 30 to allow time for drivers to adapt and learn about this new policy. Starting June 1, security forces will issue tickets to all offenders.

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