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Calling all "cellular Samaritans"

The General Services Administration issues rules for phoning while driving, saying federal workers should pull over when dialing and be alert on the road.

Federal employees can use mobile phones while driving, but they should be discouraged from doing so, according to new guidelines.

The General Services Administration on Thursday issued rules for phoning while driving, saying federal workers should pull over when dialing and be "cellular Samaritans" when out on the road.

Starting March 1, employees should use speed dial and hands-free devices if they must make wireless calls while driving.

However, the GSA urged agencies to discourage car phone use in general because of safety and liability issues. The GSA also asked federal employers to educate workers about safety issues, including urging them to take advantage of free 911 calls to report hazards or drunk driving.

"It is appropriate that the federal government assume a leadership role in promoting the safe use of wireless telephones by its employees when they are engaged in official government business," the guidelines said.

The GSA also said employees should respect the laws of regions that restrict wireless phone use in cars. New York state requires drivers to use hands-free systems or face $100 in fines, and most states are considering legislation that would restrict dialing while driving.