Federal Workers Banned From Texting While Driving
Executive order is part of larger push against distracted driving
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2009 3:05 PM CDT
Towtruck in a pool.   (AP Photo/Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, Stephen Wallace)
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(Newser) – Federal employees are now forbidden from sending text messages while driving on government business or operating government vehicles. The new executive order, signed by President Obama last night, also encourages executive agencies to adopt texting bans for contractors, reports ABC. "To put it plainly, distracted driving is a menace to society," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at a summit on the issue.

LaHood called the problem an "epidemic," and a highway safety group says drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to crash. Congress, meanwhile, is considering a bill that would withhold 25% of federal highway funds from states that allow texting while driving. Washington, DC, and 18 states have already enacted bans.