The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the US has banned the use of mobile phones and all electronic devices by employees.

Under the new law, employees using a personal electronic device will be discharged immediately and those possessing the device will be suspended for three days.

The new policy, called the ‘zero tolerance policy’ is a strengthened version of the CTA’s old policy where a rail employee could be discharged only after four violations of the law.

The law also prohibits all train operators, rail maintenance workers and rail station customer assistants from using and possessing mobile phones, smart phones, personal digital assistants such as BlackBerry devices, MP3 music players, wireless headsets or any other device.

CTA President Richard L Rodriguez said that there is a genuine concern about the safety of using these items while driving.

“Research data validates that driving distracted is unsafe. We are taking these steps to reinforce our commitment to providing a safe environment,” Rodriguez said.

The new policy is consistent with industry trends and other transit agencies in the US, which have also adopted similar policies in recent times, says the CTA.