At the conclusion of the Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving Summit, Treasury Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday that the White House signed an executive order to ban federal employees from text messaging while behind the wheel while on government business, in federal vehicles or when using government equipment.
Southeast Virginia, with its many military installations, including Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton, has many federal employees driving automobiles with the need to communicate on their cell phones. Blackberrys and IPhones. Auto accidents in Hampton Roads are always a concern for the Federal Government.
As first reported by ABC News, the White House played off the summit, signing the order Wednesday evening in what the secretary called a "big deal."
"This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable," LaHood told the 300 people gathered at the event and the thousands watching via webcast at home." It shows that the federal government is leading by example. This is a very big deal."
Earlier the federal government banned cell phone usage while driving automobiles on the military bases. It was determined that military employees, contractors and subcontractors were side skirting the ban by texting while driving on the base. It is known that distracted driving can sometimes be as dangerous and drinking and driving.
The administration made public the executive order on Thursday, which stated that given the government's nearly 3 million civilian employees, it is its duty to "demonstrate leadership in reducing the dangers of text messaging 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," read the release from the White House.