R U Compliant? FAR Bans Texting While Driving

Working on a government contract?  Put down that cell phone, at least when you are in the car.   In case you didn’t realize it, the FAR essentially bans texting while driving (although what penalties you might face for violating this policy, if any, are unclear).

Under FAR 23.1105 and FAR 52.223-18, which is to be included in every contract, a government contractor “should” adopt and enforce a policy banning texting whenever an employee is: (1) driving a vehicle owned or rented by the company; (2) driving a vehicle owned by the government; or (3) driving a privately owned vehicle when performing any work on behalf of the government.

In addition to establishing an anti-texting policy, contractors should conduct initiatives “commensurate with the size of the business,” such as education and other outreach efforts, to educate employees about the dangers of texting while driving.  In other words, if you are a larger company, the government may expect to see seminars, workshops, or some other form of employee education, besides just a written anti-texting policy.  Moreover, no matter how big or small your business, you must “flow down” the anti-texting clause, FAR 52.223-18, to all of your subcontracts that exceed the micro-purchase threshold (currently $3,000).

Many contractors will undoubtedly see the anti-texting rule as yet another example of unnecessary government red tape.  But like it or not, the FAR says what it says, so the wise thing to do is go ahead and put together a written, company-wide “no texting while driving” policy, and (especially if you aren’t a mom and pop operation) schedule an employee education session or two.

And, if you like to put on your lipstick or read the paper when you’re stuck in traffic, cross your fingers the next time the FAR Council gets together.

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