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Government takes steps against distracted driving

Posted On Wed, October 7, 2009

The federal government has taken a number of steps as the result of a summit that focused on the problem of distracted driving.

Distracted driving, which includes text messaging while operating a vehicle, may lead to a number of problems, including increasing car crashes and auto insurance quotes. The summit was put on by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and focused on causes for, and solutions to, the problem.

One action resulting from the summit is an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that mandates federal employees refrain from text messaging while using government vehicles or when using private vehicles for government business.

"This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "It shows that the federal government is leading by example."

The department is also looking toward developing a number of rules that would further regulate distracted driving. Those could include restricting the use of certain electronic devices in railroad operations and the outright ban of text messaging while operating a vehicle.

A recent report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute noted that people who text messaged while operating heavy vehicles or trucks were 23.2 times more likely to get into crashes or near-crash situations.

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