U.S. Gov't: Thou Shalt Not Text And Drive At The Same Time - InformationWeek

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7/29/2009
12:59 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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U.S. Gov't: Thou Shalt Not Text And Drive At The Same Time

It finally happened. With texting-and-driving incidents gaining more and more national media attention, it appears as though the recent VTech study pushed the U.S. federal government into action. Today, lawmakers proposed a national ban on texting and emailing when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Will it work?

It finally happened. With texting-and-driving incidents gaining more and more national media attention, it appears as though the recent VTech study pushed the U.S. federal government into action. Today, lawmakers proposed a national ban on texting and emailing when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Will it work?The new legislation, proposed by Senators Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., would make it illegal for drivers to send text messages or emails from mobile phones when the vehicle is in motion. Drivers would not be prevented from sending texts/emails while the car is parked. It doesn't apply to passengers.

The law would be fashioned similar to the existing drunk driving ban. States that fail to adopt the new legislation to ban texting and driving would face losing up to 25% of their federal highway dollars. Already, some 14 states have adopted the bans.

The secretary of transportation would have six months to come up with guidelines concerning usage of the law, and then all the states that don't already ban texting and driving would have up to two years to get the laws on the books.

This follows a study released just this week by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which notes that texting while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by 23 times.

Car and Driver magazine conducted its own study, and pitted texting drivers against drunk drivers. The drunk drivers won -- meaning they reacted faster to brake lights and were able to stop their vehicles faster than those sending text messages.

The urge to check incoming messages is sometimes hard to resist. The little blinking light on your smartphone may signal an important email or test message, after all. If your enterprise has employees who must use mobile devices when behind the wheel of a vehicle, be sure to set strict usage policies about when and where messages can be sent.

...Especially since it may (soon) be against the law.

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