US Federal government shows occupational road safety leadership by banning texting
7th October 2009
Ed Dubens, Interactive Driving Systems® CEO, said: 'We believe this is an excellent initiative for two reasons, first we have been calling for government leadership by example on occupational road safety for many years; and second, because all our research and experience suggests that driver distraction is a massive risk factor for our industry that all organisations should be targeting'.

The Article:
The US Federal Government demonstrated leadership in reducing the dangers of text messaging while driving for its near 3 million civilian employees last week when President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order using his presidential prerogative to prohibit the use of text messaging while driving on official business or while using Government-supplied equipment. Recent deadly crashes involving drivers distracted by text messaging while behind the wheel highlight a growing danger on our roads. Text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel, endangering both themselves and others.

Every day, Federal employees drive Government-owned, Government-leased, or Government-rented vehicles (collectively, GOV) or privately-owned vehicles (POV) on official Government business, and some Federal employees use Government-supplied electronic devices to text or e-mail while driving. A Federal Government-wide prohibition on the use of text messaging while driving on official business or while using Government-supplied equipment will help save lives, reduce injuries, and set an example for State and local governments, private employers, and individual drivers. Extending this policy to cover Federal contractors is designed to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement. Federal contractors and contractor employees who refrain from the unsafe practice of text messaging while driving in connection with Government business are less likely to experience disruptions to their operations that would adversely impact Federal procurement.

Federal employees, Government Contractors, Subcontractors, and Recipients and Sub-recipients shall not engage in text messaging (a) when driving GOV, or when driving POV while on official Government business, or (b) when using electronic equipment supplied by the Government while driving.

All agencies of the executive branch are directed to take appropriate action within the scope of their existing programs. This includes, but is not limited to, considering new rules and programs, and reevaluating existing programs to prohibit text messaging while driving, and conducting education, awareness, and other outreach for Federal employees about the safety risks associated with texting while driving. These initiatives should encourage voluntary compliance with the agency's text messaging policy while off duty.

Within 90 days of the date of this order, each agency is directed, consistent with all applicable laws and regulations: (i) to take appropriate measures to implement this order, (ii) to adopt measures to ensure compliance with section 2 of this order, including through appropriate disciplinary actions, and (iii) to notify the Secretary of Transportation of the measures it undertakes hereunder.

Agency heads may exempt from the requirements of this order, in whole or in part, certain employees, devices, or vehicles in their respective agencies that are engaged in or used for protective, law enforcement, or national security responsibilities or on the basis of other emergency conditions.

Each Federal agency, in procurement contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements, and other grants to the extent authorized by applicable statutory authority, entered into after the date of this order, shall encourage contractors, subcontractors, and recipients and subrecipients to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or GOV, or while driving POV when on official Government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the Government.

The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, shall provide leadership and guidance to the heads of executive branch agencies to assist them with any action pursuant to this order.

The announcement was timed to coincide with a DOT conference on Distracted Driving. Click here

BARACK OBAMA, THE WHITE HOUSE, October 1, 2009 Click here
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