Local News

Pope Air Force Base Bans Handheld Cell Phones While Driving

Posted December 27, 2005 6:02 a.m. EST

— Pope Air Force Base officials have banned drivers from using handheld cell phones, and Fort Bragg officials intend to enact a similar rule.

The move comes after the Department of Defense told the Army, Navy and Air Force to rewrite cell phone policies because of safety concerns. The policy establishes minimum standards and local commanders can take more aggressive action, said John Seibert, who works with safety and health issues at the Pentagon.

Seibert said the use of handheld cell phones is a recognized distraction.

"What we want people to do when they are driving is focus on the task at hand and minimize distractions," Seibert said.

Pope Air Force Base announced its policy in September in the Carolina Flyer, the base newspaper. The rule also bans bicyclists and joggers from using cell phones or similar devices while in "the traffic environment," according to the newspaper.

The use of handsfree cellular equipment, however, is allowed.

Fort Bragg's garrison commander will make a decision about a handheld cell phone policy with input from Army lawyers and the provost marshal, said post spokesman Maj. Richard Patterson.