By Carrie Burns August 31, 2009
Federal legislation proposed by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) would ban texting while driving (TWD), and consumers are all for the ban. In fact, Nationwide Insurance’s “On Your Side” survey found that 80% of Americans favor a ban on texting while driving, while two thirds favor a ban on cell phone calls, and more than half say they would support a ban on cell phone use altogether.
The survey, conducted Aug. 5-9, 2009 by Harris Interactive, reports that eight in 10 drivers support some type of cell phone usage restriction.
• The majority of respondents say they are supportive of laws restricting any type of cell phone use while driving.
• 80% of respondents support a ban on text messaging while driving.
• 80% of respondents support a ban on e-mailing while driving.
• Two thirds (67%) of respondents say they are supportive of laws restricting phone calls while driving.
• Of those who support some type of cell phone usage restriction, nearly three in four believe the law should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups.
“In recent months, the debate about the dangers of DWD (driving while distracted) has intensified as more and more states consider taking legislative action,” says Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s safety officer. “The survey results confirm that there is strong public support for banning texting while driving. It also provides insight into support for additional restrictions policymakers may want to consider.”
While it’s not surprising that older generations are supportive of bans, even members of Generations X (ages 33-44) and Y (ages 21-32), who are more likely to use cell phones, are supportive of laws – particularly those banning text messaging and e-mailing. Three fourths of Generation X and Y respondents favor these restrictions.
More than half of respondents say they see more drivers using cell phones while driving than they did 12 months ago. Nearly three-quarters of respondents say that when they drive, they always or often see other drivers using cell phones.
“The new information in this survey also indicates that many drivers are either in denial about their DWD habits or resistant to changing their behavior,” says Windsor. “This suggests that legislation may not be enough to eliminate distracted driving and highlights the need for a technological solution that can prevent cell phone usage in moving vehicles while still allowing people to stay connected.”
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