Auditor General Jack Wagner Says He Will Ban His Department’s Employees From Texting While Driving

October 14, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that he will ban all employees of the Department of the Auditor General from texting while driving.

The ban, effective immediately, applies to all department employees operating state vehicles and those driving personal vehicles for work-related activities, Wagner said.

Wagner said that, while he had not found texting while driving by his employees to be a problem, he was taking action because of rising concerns about the safety risks posed by distracted drivers. A federal study found that texting while driving significantly increases the risk of causing a crash or near crash, even more so than driving while intoxicated.

“As a safety engineer by training, I’ve spent my life looking for ways to keep people safer. There is no doubt in my mind that texting while driving increases the risk of vehicle accidents, and I will do all in my power to keep our roads safe,” Wagner said.

President Obama recently signed an executive order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving when they are using government-provided cars or cell phones and when they are using their own phones and cars to conduct government business, Wagner noted.

The General Assembly is considering several bills that would ban texting and driving. If a law is enacted, Pennsylvania would join 10 other states that have banned texting for all drivers. Wagner said that he supports legislation that would ban texting while driving, and hopes the General Assembly, Judiciary and other executive agencies would follow his lead and ban texting by its members and employees.

Wagner addressed the issue of road safety in the past with the June 2008 release of an audit of traffic accidents on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that led to the creation of the Turnpike Commission’s Director of Operations, Safety and Incident Response, who is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all aspects of roadway safety on the turnpike.

Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the Commonwealth’s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts more than 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s web site at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General

Source: newswire

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