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ARLINGTON, Va. — A new Defense Department regulation requires drivers on stateside military bases to either use a hands-free set while talking on cell phones or stop their vehicles to make a call.

Such prohibitions are already in effect in Europe, Japan and Korea, and will apply to stateside bases next month.

The regulation, published in the Federal Register, also prohibits drivers from wearing portable headphones, earphones or “other listening devices” that make it hard for drivers to hear emergency signals, approaching vehicles and human speech, the Register says.

Violators overseas and stateside face the same penalties, said Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke in an e-mail.

“This violation could result in the assessment of 3 points,” she said Tuesday. “Traffic point assessments are recorded on an individual’s Vehicle Registration/Driver Record. When a driver’s record accumulates 12 points in 12 months, or 18 points in 24 months, the driver could have their installation driving privileges revoked.”

Law enforcement officials will enforce the traffic regulation, said Defense Department official John Seibert in an e-mailed response to questions.

“The Military Services are developing regulations to guide local enforcement of this new regulation,” said Seibert, assistant for safety, health and fire protection for the Defense Department.

Seibert said that the department wants drivers on military bases to “treat driving as a task requiring their undivided attention.”

“National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies that have identified cell phone use as one source of distraction to driving,” Seibert said.


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