President Obama Bans Texting While Driving for Government Workers

President Obama this week handed down an executive order that bans texting while driving for all government workers. Workers are banned from doing so in government-owned vehicles or while conducting government business in privately-owned cars. In the next 90 days, all government agencies must notify the Department of Transportation with details on their plans to implement the ban.

The order also encourages federal contractors and other businesses dealing with the government to implement a similar ban, PC Magazine reports.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the meeting, "To put it plainly, distracted driving is a menace to society."

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, seven states and the District of Columbia now ban using handheld phones while driving, and 18 states and D.C. ban texting while driving.

Some members of Congress are considering making states ban texting and e-mailing while driving or lose 25 percent of their annual highway funding.

It's probably going to take such a drastic measure to get texting while driving and other distracted driving causes under control. People certainly won't police themselves, Houston Chronicle informs.

According to Land Line Magazine, a new law in the province of Ontario takes effect this month to ban text messaging for drivers, but the restriction goes further. The ban also applies to talking on the phone while driving unless the driver uses hands-free technology to dial and talk.

The new law, brought forward by Ontario Transportation Minister James Bradley, states that “driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device is prohibited.”

Passed earlier this year, the measure known as Bill 118 is set to take effect Oct. 26 starting with a three-month education period. Starting Feb. 1, 2010, drivers convicted of texting, typing, dialing or e-mailing with a hand-held device can face $500 fines.

5 Risky Distracted Driving Behaviors:

1. Texting. The study shows that drivers engaging in text messaging in a heavy vehicle or truck are a whopping 23.2 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.

2. Dialing a Cell Phone. Dialing a cell phone while driving comes with a high degree of risk simply because drivers are taking their eyes off the road -- even if it's only for a moment. Drivers in the VTTI study who dialed phones were 2.8 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.

3. Dealing with Your Kids. Passengers inside the car can always be a distraction, but this increases when you're dealing with young children who don't understand how their behavior affects the driver. Kids can bicker or misbehave, causing their parents to take their eyes off the road.

4. Playing with the Controls. As the navigation and entertainment systems inside cars become more complicated, the distractions facing the driver increase. Touchscreens may be innovative, but because they offer no tactile feedback, they're very difficult to use without glancing away from the road.

5. Eating. Three percent of respondents in a 2008 Nationwide Mutual study said that eating is the most dangerous distraction for them while driving, U.S. News Rankings & Reviews informs.