Get tougher on texting while driving, Americans say

Jun 26, 2014
Get tougher on texting while driving, americans say
Poll finds support for stricter enforcement, harsher penalties.

(HealthDay)—Many Americans want stricter enforcement of texting-while-driving laws and stiffer penalties for violators, according to a new survey.

The National Safety Council poll found that 73 percent of respondents wanted more enforcement of texting and driving laws, compared with 22 percent who found current enforcement levels satisfactory.

When asked about punishments for violators, 52 percent of respondents favored a point system that could lead to the loss of a driver's license or higher car insurance costs. About half supported large fines, and half said there should be different levels of penalties for first and repeat offenders.

"For years, there has been widespread opposition to texting behind the wheel," safety council president and CEO Deborah Hersman said in a council news release. "Today, the polls show the public is behind stronger penalties because most people recognize that it will take more than awareness campaigns to stop this dangerous behavior."

The poll findings were released as part of National Safety Month in June.

No state bans all use while driving. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia ban the use of handheld cellphones by drivers, and 44 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving.

Talking on a cellphone—either handheld or hands-free—is believed to be a factor in 21 percent of crashes. An additional 5 percent of crashes are related to , according to the council.

The council offered the following tips to prevent distracted driving:

  • Make a personal pledge to not use a cellphone while driving. Turn your cellphone off or put it on silent while driving so that you're not tempted to answer it.
  • If you're in a car with a driver who's on a cellphone, ask if you can take the instead or if the call can wait.
  • On your cellphone's voicemail message, tell callers you're either away from the phone or driving, and you'll call them back when you can do so safely.
  • If you're talking to someone who is , tell the person to hang up and call you later.

Explore further: Hands-free cellphones don't make driving safer

More information: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more about distracted driving.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

CQ Researcher examines distracted driving

May 18, 2012

More than 5,000 people die each year in vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving, many who were texting and talking on cellphones behind the wheel, according to the May 4 issue of CQ Researcher (published by CQ Press, ...

US drivers talk and text as much as ever

Apr 05, 2013

Americans are using cellphones and other gadgets behind the wheel as much as ever, despite widespread awareness of the risks involved, a federal government agency said Friday.

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

13 hours ago

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

14 hours ago

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
3 / 5 (2) Jun 27, 2014
So long as we don't completely repudiate this multitasking myth, this (stopping people from texting while driving) faces an uphill fight. Doing anything else while driving makes you more of a hazard.