The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) revised the effective date of its new distraction avoidance policy to Feb. 1, 2010.
The new start date is due to MARTA's hope the additional time will help the approximately 4,500 employees who are covered by the new policy fully understand its provisions and the consequences of noncompliance.
The transit agency's current policies governing distracted activities will remain in effect until Feb. 1, 2010, and any violations will result in the appropriate disciplinary action.
MARTA approved its zero-tolerance distraction avoidance policy on Dec. 10, 2009, reinforcing its long-standing commitment to ensuring the safety of customers, employees and the general public.
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.
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.
Due to the specialized training and national certification that MARTA Police officers receive, they are exempt from the electronic device provisions.