Obama bars fed workers from texting and driving
Transportation secretary at end of Distracted Driving Summit: Order 'shows the federal government is leading by example'
Computerworld - A two-day Distracted Driving Summit in Washington concluded Thursday, after experts raised multiple thorny questions on how to reduce cell phone usage and texting while driving, with a big emphasis placed on driver and employer responsibility.
After mentioning that President Obama had just signed an executive order that forbids all federal employees from engaging in texting while driving government vehicles, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged private sector employers to avoid calling workers on their cell phones as they drive home from work.
LaHood also announced that his department would ban text messaging altogether, restrict cell phone use by truck and interstate bus drivers and disqualify school bus drivers from receiving commercial driver's licenses if they have been convicted of texting while driving.
His department also plans to make permanent some restrictions placed on the use of cell phones in rail operations. However, he did not offer further details.
"Employers need to change their mindset, too, and if you know your staff has left for the day, do not expect them to instantly return a phone call or IM when they'e driving home," LaHood said in a concluding address.
Obama's executive order, signed Thursday, also bars federal workers from texting with any government-owned electronic equipment while they are driving, and bars any texting while driving their own privately owned vehicles while on official government business, LaHood said.
The executive order "shows the federal government is leading by example" and "sends a signal that distracted driving [is] dangerous," he added.
But LaHood was noncommittal about proposed laws, including a U.S. Senate bill that would require states to ban texting while driving or face partial loss of federal highway funding.
LaHood showed a willingness to work on legislation, saying, "We will work with Congress and state and local governments to ensure than the issue of distracted driving is appropriately addressed."
He also said "high visibility enforcement" of drunk driving and seat belt laws had been effective and could work with distracted driving and related laws.
But LaHood seemed to focus on drivers' personal responsibility as his key message. "Driving while distracted should feel wrong, just like driving without a seat belt or [while] drinking," he said. "We are not going to break all bad habits, but will raise awareness."
LaHood said driving while using a cell phone or texting is "personally irresponsible and socially unacceptable behavior, but in the end we won't make the problem go away by just passing laws ... We cannot legislate behavior to get results to improve road safety."
"People need to use common sense and show common decency to other drivers," he said.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts