It's the first step towards a possible nationwide ban of texting and driving for all drivers

As a result of an executive order signed by President Barack Obama, federal employees are now banned from texting when they are driving a government vehicle – federal employees are also banned from texting in their own vehicles when using a government-issued cell phone.

The new ban aims at limiting the amount of collisions -- and overall driving danger -- related to people who are texting while driving.  

"It shows that the federal government is taking the lead," said Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary.  "This is a big deal."

Government officials hope the ban will also put pressure on government contractors to also put laws in place designed to keep the number of unnecessary auto-related incidents at a minimum.  Most notably, there have been several texting-related incidents with rail operators and bus drivers, with injuries and deaths related from the accidents, LaHood noted.

Until the Transportation Secretary is able to pass a nationwide ban on texting and cell phone use among train operators, bus drivers, and other employees who are in control of passenger safety, this is an important first step.

Washington, D.C. and 18 states have bans in place that lead to traffic tickets if a person is caught texting while driving -- and a meeting of more than 300 government and safety officials may lead to a nationwide ban.  

AAA recently pleaded drivers across the country to have a single week of distraction-free driving, meaning no texting or chatting on the cell phone.  It's unlikely many drivers will listen to the request, but it's highlighting a growing problem that officials are looking to tackle.

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