Feds, put down those BlackBerries. At least while you’re behind the wheel.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that bans federal employees from using their cell phones, BlackBerries or other electronic devices to send or receive text messages, read e-mails or perform other electronic tasks while driving .
The order applies to employees behind the wheel of government owned or leased vehicles or those driving their own vehicles while on government business. Agencies also were instructed to encourage federal contractors to enforce similar polices on their own workforces.
Obama issued the order to coincide with a Washington summit organized by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on the dangers of text messaging and other distractions while driving.
The number of crashes attributed to distracted drivers nationally has risen during the past five years, even though the number of crashes overall has dropped, and accounted for 16 percent of crashes and fatalities in 2008, Transportation statistics show.