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President signs executive order banning Federal employees from texting and driving

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President signs executive order banning Federal employees from texting and driving
President Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday which might save some lives on the road. Under the signed order, Federal employees will be banned from texting and driving. The new rules cover federal workers using a government provided car or cellphone or when they use their own car and phone while performing government business.

In addition, the government plans to ban text messaging by bus drivers and truck drivers who travel across state lines, and may also prevent them from using cellphones except in the case of an emergency. Transportation Secretary Ray H. LaHood said that he wants to end what he characterized as an epidemic of distracted driving. "This meeting is probably the most important meeting in the history of the Department of Transportation,” Mr. LaHood said. He went on to say that the Federal ban “sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable.” A spokesman for the Transportation Department said that the ban takes effect immediately and covers 4.5 million government workers and military personnel.

The ban for truckers and bus drivers is expected to take longer to put in place. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the trucking industry, there would first need to be a definition of “text messaging.” Another issue was that the initial ban would be on texting which would make it seem like something was getting done, but would leave out the bigger issue of driving while using the cellphone which is the more difficult problem according to David Strayer, a professor at the University of Utah who studies distracted driving.

source: NYTimes

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