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Safety Updates - New Law Against Texting While Driving
Posted: February 06, 2012

On January 9, 2012, County employees whose job function requires a Class A or Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) were informed of a new Federal rule that prohibits CDL holders from using hand-held cell phones while operating their commercial motor vehicle. Although the rule does not apply to non-CDL holders, members were reminded about the dangers of cell phone use while driving.
o Talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, eating fast food, tuning your radio or reading a map are all dangerous activities to do while driving. However, cell phone use while driving is a visual, mechanical and cognitive distraction. Thousands of people use cell phones while driving, and conversations often last for several minutes. A passenger in a vehicle is aware of the driving situation and can adjust his or her conversation accordingly. However, the person on the other end of the phone call is not present, so he or she cannot adjust the conversation when the driving environment becomes more challenging. Also, a cell phone conversation often carries a certain obligation of immediacy to respond (National Safety Council).
o People who talk on a cell phone while driving are 4 times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident, similar to the hazard associated while drunk driving (New England Journal of Medicine).
o Nearly 5474 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009. Distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
o If you are tempted to use your cell phone when driving:
 Change your voicemail greeting to indicate you are driving and will call back when safely parked.
 Put your cell phone in your trunk or glove box, or turn your cell phone on silent.
 If you need to contact someone, pull over to a safe location and put your vehicle in “park”.
 If you are talking to someone who is driving, ask the person to call you when he or she is parked in a safe location.
 Share this with your friends and family and visit www.distracteddriving.nsc.org for more information. (National Safety Council)

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