Majority of Americans Support Ban on Texting While Driving

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A survey by car insurance company Nationwide Insurance has found that 8 in 10 surveyed Americans say they would support legislation restricting cell phone use while driving. The survey conducted by Harris Interactive reports that 80 percent 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.

"In recent months, the debate about the dangers of driving while distracted (DWD) has intensified as more and more states consider taking legislative action," said 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."

In geographic regions where one would expect to find higher cell phone usage and more multitasking lifestyles, support for a ban was high. The majority of respondents in the west and northeast regions say they would support a ban on any type of cell phone use while driving.

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.

The overwhelming support for legislation may be driven by increased public recognition of the dangers associated with DWD. In 2008, Nationwide's DWD survey revealed that 45 percent of respondents had been hit or nearly hit by another driver using a cell phone.

"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," said 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."

In the new survey, four out of five respondents (82 percent) who admit to using their cell phones while driving say their behavior would change if cell phone usage were restricted by law. However, 18 percent of respondents who admit to using their cell phones while driving say they would continue to do so regardless of a change in law, with Generation Y most likely to resist the change (26 percent).

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Tags: driving  hands-free  text messaging  three  insurance  cell phone  texting 

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