Proposed Policy Aims to Ban Devices and Driving -- For Bismarck - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Proposed Policy Aims to Ban Devices and Driving -- For Bismarck City Employees

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Devices and driving.  Two things that likely will soon not mix -- if you're a Bismarck City employee.

A vote on a proposed policy was postponed by the City Commission.  They want to consider adding tougher -- perhaps, monetary -- penalties for employees who use electronic devices while driving on city time. 

"For example, and I'm just going to throw this out, if you're seen texting, you lose a week of pay.  The second time, you're fired," suggested Commissioner Mike Seminary.

Cell phones, hand-held GPS systems, cameras and virtually all other devices are targeted by the policy.  Regarding phones, staff says the research shows the conversation -- not the operation -- is the distraction. 

"There is no benefit to having hands-free operation.  It's the call that engages the person.  It isn't the operation of the phone," says Charles Whitman, Bismarck City Attorney.

City staff says it's not just about safety -- it's also a liability issue as an employer.  The proposed policy exempts police officers and emergency situations.


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