'Hang up, buckle up' saves lives

19 Oct 2007 | Pfc. Ryan E. Turnage

Pfc. Ryan E. Turnage

Marine Corps Base

October 15, 2007

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – When driving a vehicle on or off base, it’s prominent to obey all state laws, regional policies, Base orders and for service members to follow Marine Corps orders.

As part of a two week blitz called Hang up and Buckle up, Camp Lejeune’s Semper Safe is coordinating with law enforcement officials in an attempt to decrease cell phone use and increase seat belt use, according to Richard Knight, a safety technician with Installation Safety and Security.

At the main gate on base, a marquee displays “Cell phones, must use hands-free device.” The sign isn’t just there for decoration, Knight said.

“We hope to engrave into everyone’s mind, civilian or military personnel, that vehicle safety is prominent to save lives,” he said.

According to base order P5560.2m, “Operators of privately owned vehicles on Marine Corps installations shall not use cellular phones while the vehicle is in operation, unless they are using a hands-free device.” The primary responsibility of a driver is to operate a motor vehicle safely. When an individual is driving without a seatbelt combined with cell phone use without a hands-free device can be lethal, said Knight.

ISS offers a machine that simulates a car crash with a seatbelt on at seven miles per hour, the Seatbelt Convincer. Units are encouraged to take advantage of the machine and give their Marines and sailors the tool to convince them about vehicle safety, he said.

Not only is it dangerous to drive while on the phone and not wearing seatbelt, but it is illegal and that alone is enough reason to not do it, Knight continued. Recently, on the popular show Myth Busters, they proved that talking on a cell phone while driving is the same, if not worse, as driving after consuming one alcoholic beverage.

If wearing a seatbelt or waiting until the vehicle is safely stopped is too much of an inconvenience for drivers, then they shouldn’t operate motor vehicles, said Knight.

Obey the law, order and policy by buckling up and hanging up the phone. There isn’t a phone call in the world worth someone’s life.