On Thursday, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) approved a new anti-distracted driving policy.
The new policy will apply to nearly every MARTA employee – including bus, rail and mobility van operators — who carry passengers. In addition, the policy will cover employees operating “non-revenue” vehicles such as staff cars, trucks and moving equipment, as well as those performing safety sensitive functions. MARTA employees operating personal vehicles while conducting authority business are also subject to the new policy.
Distractions include, but are not limited to, the use of cell phones and other electronic devices, eating, drinking, reading, reaching for fallen items, and other activities that take attention away from driving or operating equipment.
After an investigation of a distracted driving incident, MARTA employees who are found to have violated the policy will face immediate termination.
“At MARTA, we have a very good overall safety record. This comprehensive distraction policy underscores MARTA’s absolute commitment to the highest standards,” said Dr. Beverly A. Scott, MARTA’s GM. “We recognize that MARTA matters to everyone because we are not only one of the state’s largest employers, we’re also the single largest provider of public transportation in Georgia, the southern United States, and one of the top 10 transit providers in the nation. Our objective is to remain a leader in the transit industry, and we are honoring that. ”
The revised policy articulates regulations, guidelines and disciplinary actions for all unnecessary distractions and implements a zero-tolerance stance regarding employees engaging in prohibited activities while operating MARTA equipment, or doing so while conducting official business.
MARTA will begin implementing the policy by kicking off a 30-day employee training and awareness campaign. The new zero-tolerance policy was issued to employees on November 30th and will become effective on Jan. 1, 2010.