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
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.
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."
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."