National survey prompts call for ban on cell phones while driving
The poll of 2,424 voters by Quinnipiac University showed a majority also oppose the use of hands-free devices while driving. The poll found virtually all groups supported the ban by the following percentages:
- Democrats -- 70 to 28.
- Republicans -- 56 to 40.
- Independents -- 64 to 33.
- Women -- 70 to 26.
- Men -- 55 to 42.
- Those 18 to 34 years of age -- 51 to 47.
- Those over age 55 -- 74 to 22.
Ten percent of respondents admit they talk on a cell phone while driving very often, 21 percent said sometimes, 38 percent said rarely, and 31 percent said never. Nearly half -- 49 percent -- said a cell phone ban would increase highway safety "a great deal."
Currently, eight states ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving even though none bans their use completely, according to the NSC. Texting while driving is prohibited in 30 states.
The organization said cell phones are a factor in about 1.3 million crashes annually, and cell phone conversations are involved in 12 times as many crashes as texting, "indicating that conversations are the larger problem."
The NSC said a yearlong pilot enforcement program conducted in two cities resulted in a reduction in cell phone use while driving by more than half in Hartford and about one-third in Syracuse.
"The public is fed up with their safety being jeopardized because of phone calls," said David Teater, NSC's senior director of Transportation Initiatives, in a statement. "It is our hope that elected officials realize the strong public support for laws, and that they are quickly passed to protect motorists and others on our roadways."
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January 27, 2011
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