Driving and Cellphones
Distracted driving, which includes texting and talking on a cell phone, is a major cause of death on the road. Nearly two out of every 10 drivers and half of drivers ages 21 to 24 said they are texting while driving, according to a NHTSA survey. Anne Rippy/Getty Images

The Washington City Council has a new policy to curb distracted driving accidents.

Following unanimous approval by the council, city workers will be required to sign a contract the spells out acceptable cellphone use when operating a city vehicle.

According to the ordinance, the goal of the policy is to “establish safe and efficient operation of city vehicles and equipment.”

The policy was brought to the council during the Jan. 27 administration/operations meeting. City Administrator Jim Briggs told the council at that meeting it is important to get the requirements in writing.

“We would require all employees to sign this,” he said.

Briggs said the plan is simple to understand.

“Basically it’s use cellphones only when necessary,” Briggs said.

Under the policy, city workers are encouraged to keep cell phone use to a minimum, and that’s for calls only. Sending emails, instant messages and texting while driving is prohibited.

The policy also states that drivers involved in important conversations should pull off the road in order to avoid distractions while driving. The No. 1 priority when driving should be driving, according to the policy.

With the unanimous vote at Monday’s meeting, the policy was immediately put in place.