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Obama introduced the executive order in October

Anyone who drives or rides in a vehicle has seen other drivers on the roads who aren’t paying attention. People talk on the phone, text, read, and put on makeup while driving all around the country every day leading to accidents and at times death.

President Obama is looking to curb the practice of texting while driving by government employees and in October, Obama announced an executive order that would ban federal employees from texting while they are driving. The executive order even banned federal employees from texting on government provided cell phones when driving in personal vehicles. The executive order officially goes into effect today barring all 4 million federal employees from texting and driving.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "I am proud that the federal government is leading by example, and encourage others to think about how they can set a safety example in their communities, whether it's through employee policies, safety awareness campaigns, or just making sure your teen driver knows the risks."

When Obama announced the executive order in October, LaHood immediately directed all 58,000 Transportation Department employees to comply with the order. Lahood said, "Every single time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road, even for just a few seconds, they put their lives and the lives of others in danger. Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and, in a split second, its consequences can be devastating."

To help promote the dangers of driving while distracted the NHTSA has launched a new website called Distraction.gov. The website gives factoids about distracted driving. One of the claims is that driving and talking on the phone makes you as much of a hazard on the road as someone driving over the legal drinking limit. The site also claims that 6,000 people died in distracted driving incidents in 2008. The NHTSA has also found that fatalities involving distracted drivers went from 8% in 2004 to 11% in 2008.

The real question is if the legislation will stop federal employees from driving and texting or driving while distracted. Many states around the country already have legislation in place that prevents drivers from making or receiving phone calls while driving without using a hands free device and many support a nationwide ban on texting and driving.

Distracted driving is hard for police to prove and therefore it's hard to catch drivers in the act of texting while driving. Teens are among the worst offenders and many say they will not change their habits even if legislation makes it illegal. One teen said, "Nobody is going to listen."

California Highway Patrol spokesman Fran Clader said, "The handheld cell phone is relatively easy for us to spot, we can see when somebody has their phone up to their ear. But with the texting it's a little bit more of a challenge to catch them in the act, because we have to see it and if they are holding it down in their lap it's going to be harder for us to see."



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RE: Mmmm
By marvdmartian on 12/30/2009 1:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much all of DoD has had a ban on use of cell phones while driving on base for a while now, which should have included texting.

Sadly, where I work, the worst offenders (or, at least, the most visible offenders) seem to be the base security patrols, who use their cell phones as a way to pass messages to each other while on patrol, without it going out over the "official" airwaves. More than once I've seen our security patrols driving with a cell phone up to their ear. Doughnut, anyone? [eyeroll]

The toughest part to enforcing this will be the people that can hold a phone in their lap & text, since there's no law that says you have to drive with your hands at the 10 & 2 position on the steering wheel.

It's a good idea, but for all practical purposes, un-enforceable.


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