Obama tells federal workers: No DWT
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that President Obama has signed an executive order instructing federal workers not to send text messages while driving government vehicles or driving their own vehicles while on the job.
The order comes the same day that a new law takes effect in Maryland prohibiting driving while texting. The announcement comes at the conclusion of a two-day conference in Washington on distracted driving. The administration also announced it would seek a ban on driving while texting by interstate truckers and bus operators.
The executive order also forbids federal employees from texting while driving their own cars while using government-issued electronic devices. Obama also urged federal contractors to adopt similar policies governing their employees.
In a way, the federal government is following Maryland's lead. Gov. Martin O'Malley, at the urging of the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation and other groups, signed a similar executive order covering state employees in May. Once a cutting-edge idea, the proposition that driving while texting should be addressed by employer policies as well as laws is becoming positively mainstream.
The Maryland foundation had set a goal of bringing at least 100,000 employees in the state under employer mandates addresing such issues as DWT and cell pphone use behind the wheel. Foundation co-chairman said the group had been at 70,000 and that the addition of Maryland's vast federal work force would bring it over the top.
"We'll only have to push our goal upwards," he said.