Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Harsher Texting while Driving Laws


A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted October 5 through October 8 shows that nearly all Americans polled believe texting while driving should be illegal, and half believe the punishment should be as harsh as laws for drunken driving.

Ninety-seven percent of the 829 adults surveyed believe texting should be prohibited. Eighty percent go further and would support a ban on talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving. In 2001, the same poll was given, but only 69 percent of those polled then believed texting while driving should be punished.

Most of those polled say that taking your eyes off the road to read texts or text out is an extremely dangerous thing to do. Accidents that involve texting seem to show this to be true. Nearly everyone has a cell phone today. While most people know that hands-free cell phones are much safer than hand held phones, talking on the phone is not the same as texting on the phone.

British Solution

In Britain, authorities are far more aggressive in going after people who text or use hand-held cell phones. New guidelines make sentencing harsher if it is discovered that a hand-held cell phone was in use during an accident in which someone is killed. If the driver was found to be texting, the situation is “given special treatment.” A 22-year-ol girl was recently given 21 months in a high-security women’s prison for causing an auto accident while texting in which another young girl was killed. Many people found this sentence too lenient, but others found it about right.

Most people may believe those who text while driving should pull over to the side of the road, but those actually reading or typing in the text may argue that their eyes are only off the road for a split second and it isn’t worth pulling over for that one or two seconds. This is just one area where the debate continues to rage.

What is not debatable are the accidents caused by someone who was texting or receiving a text. People are severely injured and some are killed. This seems one of the most avoidable accidents of them all.