Salt River Project is expanding a ban on employees using wireless communication devices while driving on company business to improve its safety measures.

The water and electricity provider now prohibits hands-free technology, adding to an existing ban on cell phone use.

SRP employees drive more than 17 million miles a year to locations across Arizona.

The company cities National Safety Council studies in its ban on drivers using cell phones while driving.

According to the NSC, about 25 percent of vehicle crashes involve a driver who is talking or texting while driving. The NSC recommends never using wireless devices on the road and it encourages employers to ban cell phone use while employees are driving on company time.

Studies show drivers on cell phone calls can lose track of their driving and suffer inattention blindness. Most people are not aware of the distraction.

Tests show drivers using cell phones have slower reaction times and are more likely to get in a crash than drivers who are legally drunk.

SRP’s ban does not prohibit cell phone use to make 911 calls in an emergency or to use two-way radios in compliance with company policy.

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