One call might disconnect your driving privileges

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bahja J. Jones
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
While driving along Perimeter Road here, the phone rings. The point of destination is only moments away and your hands free device is not connected, but the call may be important. In a fumble to answer the phone, you slow your driving, causing the vehicle behind you to nearly rear end your vehicle. Though no harm done, this time, but that lapse in judgment put you and other drivers at risk.

To make Joint Base Andrews and surrounding area streets safer, the 11th Security Forces Squadron teamed up with the 11th Wing Safety Office to do weekly seatbelt and cell phone selective-enforcement checks.

"We go into high traffic flow areas and write tickets to violators," said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Scheide, 11th SFS law enforcement administrator.

Andrews Regulation 4.22.1 states that drivers are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle on the installation while using a cell phone without a hands free device. This also holds true while driving off base as Maryland State codes mandate cell phone usage while driving as well.

According to Staff Sgt. Daniel Hadley, 11 SFS crime prevention NCO, this year Joint Base Andrews has issued an average of three citations per month for talking on cell phones without a hands free device.

The consequences for talking on a cell phone while driving may vary depending on whether the member is active-duty or civilian and on how many driving offences they have had.

The member could be subject to verbal warning and active-duty members could receive a DD Form 1408 requiring them to report to their first sergeant or commander. Civilians could receive DD Form 1805 which would result in a 65 dollar fine for first offense, and 100 dollar fine for the second offense. Also, texting while driving is a 70 dollar citation and 110 dollar citation if it results in an accident.

Each time someone is stopped and cited on base, they lose points which could cause them to lose driving privileges on base. Members lose 3 points for talking on the phone without a hands free device. Members have 12 points for the year, 18 points for two years, and once they are gone, their driving privileges on base are suspended for up to a year.

"Cell phones are not only your distraction, but also a distraction to the cars around you," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Little, 11th Wing Safety ground safety technician. "Other drivers are forced to adjust to your distracted driving."

So next time you are driving and the phone rings, remember to do it with no hands and use a hands free device or wait until you have reached your destination. Consider all the consequences and the safety of yourself and other drivers.