Our last blog article focused on the ability of an SDVOSB to control his company remotely thanks to the advancements of technology. Well, technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It can allow you to work from pretty much anywhere, but, as we all know, there are certain places where you should simply avoid using the technology available to you, such as when you are behind the wheel. The hazards of texting while driving has become a major problem and, as a result, it's been rendered illegal in many states. Based upon recent changes to the FAR, now the federal government is getting into the act.
Pursuant to FAR Subpart 23.11 (incorporated into every government contract through clause 52.223-18) a government contractor should adopt and enforce a policy banning employees from 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. Moreover, contractors are required to “flow down” this anti-texting clause to all of its subcontractors, if the value of the subcontract exceeds the “micro-purchase threshold” (currently $3,000).
More importantly, 52.223-18 requires federal contractors to “conduct initiatives” to educate employees about the dangers of texting while driving; these initiatives should be “commensurate with the size of the business.” If you are a large government contractor, this likely means that the government will expect some sort of training in addition to a written policy or employee handout covering this topic. If you are conducting periodic ethics training (and you should be), you can likely incorporate any necessary training on anti-texting as part of those sessions. If you do not conduct periodic ethics, and other government contracting, training to refresh yourself regarding what the government requires of its contractors, you should certainly consider doing so.