City Of Tulsa Bans Employee Use Of Electronics While Driving, Including Hands-Free

Tuesday, May 12th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6

Starting November 1, it will be illegal to text, email or post on social media while driving in Oklahoma.

The City of Tulsa is taking it a step further by telling city employees they can't use any electronic devices while behind the wheel and on the job.

Some other businesses are considering similar measures, because new research says using any device - even hands-free - can be just as dangerous as texting and driving.

Texting and driving will soon be banned in Oklahoma, but what about talking on the phone while driving?

5/5/2015 Related Story: Gov. Mary Fallin Signs Bill Banning Texting And Driving

The City of Tulsa has banned city workers from using any mobile device while driving and that includes hands-free.

City of Tulsa Safety Data Analyst, Branon Dodd, supports the ban.

"There is a cognitive distraction in place too that we have when we're on the phone. It's when our mind's not fully in place when we're driving," he said.

Hands-free devices are usually seen as a safe solution because you don't have to look away or take your hands off the wheel.

While hands-free isn't a physical distraction, it's a mental one; your mind is not on the road and you might not realize it.

The National Safety Council compiled more than 30 research studies comparing driver performance with handheld devices and hands-free devices. The studies show hands-free devices have no safety benefit.

"We want to take that extra step to further protect not only our employees, and the public," Dodd said.

He said city workers can be fired for breaking the ban, which extends beyond their company vehicle. Employees can't answer work emails, texts or calls while driving a work car or their personal car.

Tulsa is one of the first cities to create such a ban, and the city is calling on other area businesses to do the same.

Dodd said he'll even help a local business implement a policy banning mobile devices while driving. The city said it is taking the dangers of distracted driving that seriously.