text messaging while driving

4.1.31 Text Messaging While Driving

Executive Order 13513 (E.O. 13513) requires each Federal agency to encourage contractors, subcontractors, and grant and cooperative agreement recipients and subrecipients to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or Government Owned Vehicles, or while driving Personally Owned Vehicles when on official Government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the Government.

To further the requirement of encouraging such policies, NIH encourages recipients to consider new rules and programs, reevaluate existing programs to prohibit text messaging while driving, and conduct education, awareness, and other outreach for employees about the risks associated with texting while driving. These initiatives should encourage voluntary compliance with the recipient agency's text messaging policy while off duty.

For the purposes of this policy and pursuant to E.O. 13513, the following definitions apply:

  1. ‘‘Texting'' or ‘‘Text Messaging'' means reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication.
  2. ‘‘Driving'' means operating a motor vehicle on an active roadway with the motor running, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign, or otherwise. It does not include operating a motor vehicle with or without the motor running when one has pulled over to the side of, or off, an active roadway and has halted in a location where one can safely remain stationary.