Here in Hawaii we have a total ban on hands-on cell phone use. You must use a Bluetooth device or corded ear buds. Novice drivers, under the age of 18, are completely banned from using cell phones at any time while driving. Texting is covered under a comprehensive ban, no one at any time may text while driving.
Take a look at the chart below and see how various activities affect your reaction time. Holding a phone in your hand is the worst thing that you can do. It slows reaction time by 46%. Remember, it’s not just another car you might hit, it could be a bicyclist on the side of the road or a pedestrian in a cross walk.
Regardless of the number or percentage, these activities negatively affect our ability to drive. Here at Delta, our policy is clear, you can not use a hands-on cell phone, or text, at any time while you are driving. You need ear buds or a Bluetooth device to talk while driving. We also don’t allow workers to use their phone, other than on breaks, at the jobsite. If a supervisor calls you, or there is an emergency call, you need to step away from the work area before taking the call. We never want to see someone actively working and talking at the same time. With the amount of large, heavy equipment that we have, it could be disastrous if an operator or worker on the ground became distracted and was not attentive of others in the work area. This is not a new policy, it is discussed with you at your orientation, and has been reviewed as a safety topic during the weekly safety meetings.
If you are in an accident while performing a prohibited activity, you could lose your job, but worse, you could be sued for negligence by the person you injure, and potentially lose your house if you own one. You could also face criminal charges and prison time. Don’t take chances by doing a quick check of your phone at a stop light, or calling someone up. Ear buds are quite inexpensive, and even Bluetooth devices can be as low as $20-30. If you have underage drivers in the house, make sure that they are following the complete ban on cell phone use. If it’s extremely important, get off the road and make the call. If not, it can wait.