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DATE: October 2, 2000

INCIDENT TYPE: Auto accident

LOCATION: District 6

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Talking on cellular telephone while driving

THE INCIDENT: On September 12, 2000 a Caltrans employee was having a business conversation on a cell phone while driving a state vehicle. After the employee stopped for a stop sign, he pulled into the path of an approaching vehicle. While still on the phone, he realized there was a vehicle approaching, panicked and stopped. The oncoming vehicle skidded into the state vehicle causing the state driver to suffer a broken nose, and possibly a mild concussion.

CONCLUSIONS: The CHP officer investigating this report wrote "Öan associated factor in the cause of this collision was P-1ís (state driver) inattention while speaking on his cell phone."

RECOMMENDATIONS: These kinds of accidents can easily be avoided by pulling safely off the road to take care of your telephone business. If this is not possible, consider the following guidelines:

  • Learn to operate the phone without looking at it.
  • Donít get into heated conversations while driving.
  • Use a hands-free device.
  • Donít take notes or look up phone numbers while driving.
  • While talking, keep your head up and your eyes on the road.
  • Dial while the vehicle is not in motion, at a signal or stop sign, etc.
  • Use the speed dial feature available on most phones.

Bottom line is if you canít maintain an awareness of your surroundings and focus on your driving while talking on a phone or radio, DONíT DO IT.


Released 10/9/00


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