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White House issues stop text messaging edict while driving

2 October 2009

US President Barack Obama has banned text messaging among the Federal Government’s near three million civilian employeeswhile 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, according to Dr Will Murray, research director of UK-based Interactive Driving Systems.

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 or privately-owned vehicles 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, said a Government statement.

And extending the 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,” added the statement.

THE WHITE HOUSE, October 1, 2009