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Fort Knox has banned the use of cellular phones and other communication devices without a hands free device by motor vehicle drivers because of changes to the Code of Federal Regulations.

The regulation applies to all devices using cellular technology, but it does not apply to devices using a hands-free kit. Cellular systems built into the vehicle and activated by voice or push-button are considered hands-free.

The hands-free kit is the only earpiece or headphone authorized for use in a vehicle and may only by used in one ear.

Radio communication devices (hand sets or "mikes") may only be used by operators of vehicles where the radio device is mounted (wired) to the vehicle. Use of walkie-talkies or phones in the direct connect mode is not authorized. This includes the use of "brick" type radios in government and privately owned vehicles. The use of tactical radios in tactical vehicles is not subject to this regulation.

Any vehicle operator desiring to use technology prohibited above may do so only after safely exiting the roadway and placing the vehicle in park.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2006, violators of this regulation may receive a Magistrate Court Violation Notice. The standard fine will be $50 with a $25 processing fee and two points assessed against your military installation driving privileges.

For military personnel, these restrictions will be effective on and off post, on and off duty.

Driving safe is an attitude we all need to practice regularly, there have been numerous vehicle rollovers on Fort Knox this year, accidents that could have easily been avoided by following safe driving practices. Be aware of potential dangers, impaired driving, not wearing seat belts, speeding, distracted driving (eating and/or using cell phones), and drowsy driving. These simple things are overlooked in our hustle and bustle world, but take the time to stop and think, get in the right frame of mind and attitude; it might just save your life.