19.16 / Text Messaging While Driving

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this statement is to set forth University policy regarding text messaging while driving.

  2. Preamble

    Due to the safety risks associated with texting while driving, Kansas law prohibits text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Because many University employees are required to operate a motor vehicle in the course of their employment, this policy statement is intended to provide information and guidance about the University’s expectation about text messaging while driving.

  3. Policy Statement

    1. Text Messaging Prohibited

      Employees shall not engage in “text messaging” on a personal or state-provided cellular phone when:

      1. driving a state owned, leased, or rented vehicle;
      2. performing University work or on University business while driving a privately-owned vehicle, or
      3. using any equipment supplied by the state or federal government while driving.
    2. Text Messaging Defined

      For purposes of this policy, “text messaging” means reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of short message service texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication. The term does not include glancing at or listening to a navigational device that is secured in a commercially designed holder affixed to the vehicle, provided that the destination and route are programmed into the device either before driving or while stopped in a location off the roadway where it is safe and legal to park.

    3. Exceptions

      This policy shall not apply to:

      1. The use of a device which is voice-operated and which allows the user to send or receive a text message without the use of either hand, except to activate or deactivate a feature or function; or
      2. A law officer or emergency service personnel acting within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer’s or emergency service personnel’s employment.
    4. Consequences of Violation. Violation of this policy will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Such disciplinary action will be taken in accord with applicable University policies.
  4. Implementation

    This policy shall be included in the WSU Policies and Procedures Manual and shared with appropriate constituencies of the University.

    The General Counsel shall have primary responsibility for publication, dissemination and implementation of this University policy.

  5. Applicable Laws

    • FAR 52.223-18
    • KSA 8-15,111; 8-296 & 8-2,101
    • Wichita Ord. No. 48-806, § 1
    • VI. Policy Owners
    • Federal Contracts Compliance, Research Compliance