text mesaging with a cellphone

Order Gives Agencies 90 Days to Bar Texting While Driving

The president’s executive order, published in Tuesday's Federal Register, defines "texting" as "reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication."

President Obama's Executive Order 13513 was published in Tuesday's Federal Register. This gives almost 3 million civilian employees in federal executive agencies a clear definition of what will soon be banned because the order contains this definition: " 'Texting' or 'Text Messaging' means reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication."

The order covers all executive agencies except the Government Accountability Office and gives the agencies 90 days (from Oct. 1, 2009) to adopt policies prohibiting text messaging while driving by federal employees driving government vehicles or private vehicles on government business or when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving. The agencies are to include "appropriate disciplinary actions" in their policies and are directed to notify the Secretary of Transportation of the measures they put in place. They are to "encourage contractors, subcontractors, and recipients and subrecipients to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or [Government-owned, -leased, or -rented vehicles] or while driving [private vehicles] when on official Government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the Government."

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