Cargill adopts total cell phone ban

Agriculture giant Cargill has adopted a total ban on cell phone use by employees when they are driving. The move by the diversified Minnesota corporation became effective Jan. 1, 2017.

cargillCargill’s policy affects about 150,000 employees. The rules apply to all cell phone use, regardless of whether a hands-free device is employed.

The ban on electronic distracted driving also extends to employees’ private vehicles when they are doing company business.

The National Safety Council — which advocates a total cell phone ban for drivers — said Cargill is the largest private corporation to adopt such a policy.

Deborah Hersman, president of the NSC, told the Washington Post that the move reflected a trend in which corporations were taking measures to rein in cell phone use while government has hesitated to act.

“They’re really just looking at their risks and looking at the data,” Hersman told the Post.

Cargill employees are allowed to use GPS for navigation, assuming the device is programmed before driving and the device is mounted, not handheld, a spokesman said.

Compliance is largely on the honor system, the spokesman said, although an employee could be fired for repeated violations.

Cargill’s other interests include financial services and steel. Operating globally, it is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue.

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