O'Malley signed an executive order Thursday, The Baltimore Sun reported. It applies to all employees in the executive branch, the vast majority of Maryland's 79,000 employees.
"This legislative session, we passed tough new laws to improve safety on our roadways by cracking down on drunken driving, speeding and texting," O'Malley said. "Today, I want to carry that protection to our dedicated state employees by preventing a major cause of workplace injury: traffic crashes."
The Legislature failed to pass a state law banning hand-held phone use in the most recent session.
O'Malley's order exempts hands-free phones, and allows state police and drivers of emergency vehicles to use hand-held phones. The order is to take effect after the Department of Budget and Management draws up rules.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recently barred all train, bus and trolley drivers from having cell phones in their possession while they are on duty after a texting trolley driver failed to notice a stop signal and rear-ended another trolley.