Last week, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting all federal employees from text messaging while driving on official business or while using government equipment. Click here to read President Obama’s executive order on texting while driving. While President Obama’s order does not effect private employers, it does directs federal agencies to encourage contractors and their employees to also to ban texting while driving on government business.
Private employers may also want to consider adopting policies prohibiting employees from texting or using cell phones while driving. Several studies, including this one from Car and Driver Magazine, show that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. There have been numerous cases in recent years where employers have been sued by the victims of accidents alleged to have been caused while the employees were texting or using cell phones and driving.
Several states have banned cell phone use while driving (including Washington and, effective Jan. 1, 2010, Oregon) and several more are banning texting while driving. Need to know the law in your state? Check out this great overview of cell phone/texting while driving laws by state from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association.