How do you feel about cell phone use while driving? This is a question that Nationwide Insurance asked a number of Americans. The results might surprise some: they overwhelmingly support certain restrictions. Since when have Americans willingly given up the right to do as they please? When it involves safety, it appears. In a previous survey, also conducted by Nationwide, 45 percent of people said that they’d been in an accident, or nearly been in one, which involved another party using a cell phone. There’s been much made of DWD (driving while distracted), and cell phones are a big part of that. Hence, Americans are becoming attracted to legislature which will help curb the habit. The largest portion of people, 80 percent, favored bans on texting while driving. The good news for them is that there’s a legislative initiative on that front. It might not pass soon, but it’s out there. It’s tough to argue against such a ban. After all, driving requires at least one hand on the wheel (though the pros tell you two) and two eyes on the road. Texting takes away from both aspects. As a surprise to me, about two thirds of respondents said they’d favor a ban on cell phone calls. It makes me wonder how the question was worded. Did they mention calls with Bluetooth? Did people take it to mean a ban on handset usage? I’d think so, considering the answer to another question. When asked about a ban on cell phone usage, period, more than half said yes. This makes me think that the two thirds favor at least a Bluetooth-only system, whereas there are a number who don’t even want that. Of course, legislature won’t ensure everyone’s safety. Only 82 percent said that laws would change their behavior. The way to convert the remaining 18 percent: greatly increase the penalties for getting into an accident while on your phone. I’m sure insurance companies would also take advantage of such situations. The strangest paragraph of all:
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.
So it’s not just the old fogies supporting bans. Younger people are aware of the dangers posed by texting and talking drivers, particularly the texting type. Hopefully this widespread support for legislature will lead the current bill to get through the Senate a bit quicker.