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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Texting While Driving Rule for Federal Contractors Effective July 5th


Alabama@Work
By Tommy Eden, Attorney

Federal contractors are strongly encouraged under a July 5 final rule issued by multiple Federal Agencies to prohibit their employees from texting while driving government vehicles or driving on government business. Federal contractors are also encouraged to conduct programs to educate employees about the hazards of texting while driving. The final rule stems from a 2009 presidential executive order, which strictly prohibited federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles, driving privately owned vehicles on government business, or driving any vehicle for any reason if the device used for texting is supplied by the government.

Common Sense Counsel: with this latest action by the federal government, and the numerous states that have text messaging while driving bans, it is more critical than ever that all Alabama employers consider implementing in their Employee Handbooks a Driver Safety Policy including a wireless communication device policy like this:

Wireless Communications Devices Use
Employees cannot use wireless communications devices, including cell phones and text massagers, when driving on Company business. Drivers who need to use a wireless communications device must pull over to a safe location before using the device.

Failing to take such preventative steps now can make you an easy litigation target when your employee is involved in a serious rear end accident while texting.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Capell & Howard, PC and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at tme@chlaw.com or 334-501-1540.