Poll: Big support for outlawing driver texting

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The public overwhelmingly supports the prohibition of text messaging while driving, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll finds. Ninety percent of adults say sending a text message while driving should be illegal, and only 8 percent disagree.

There is no difference in support based on region of the country, party identification, marital status or whether the respondent owns a cell phone, the poll found.

More than 80 percent of every demographic group says sending text messages while driving should be illegal, but some are more adamant about such a prohibition than others.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & TechnologyTravel

6 Comments
Posted September 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. sandiegoanglicans.com wrote:

I’m in the 8%.  Texting while driving is probably a bad idea, sure. Making a law about it is an exercise in making legal wind.

a) It’s almost entirely unenforceable.  Texters will keep on texting.  It’s already “illegal” here in California, but let me tell ya, everyone’s still texting.  Some of them RIGHT IN FRONT of a police car, if you can imagine that.

b) Define texting please.  Using your fingers on a small keypad to transmit data? Does that include GPS? Tuning your radio? Operating a C.B.? Using a calculator?  Dialing your phone?  Reaching behind your driver’s seat to put together your 4 year old’s McDonald’s happy meal toy?

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.  All of you!  Ha!

Laws are fun & easy to make, but this one won’t work.  Good luck, 92%.

I could go for fewer driving laws and higher driver skills thresholds instead.

September 28, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
2. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

I am pretty sure that the “distracted driving” law would cover texting.  It is usually only enforced when there has been an accident.  I think it would be fairly easy to subpoena cell phone records to determine if an accident occurred during the use of a cell phone, orally or texting.

Then the issue begins to hinge on the severity of the accident.  If someone died and the evidence suggests that the driver was texting or talking on a cell phone, the accident becomes a criminal matter and I believe the charge would be negligent homicide.  Roll the dice, ya takes yer chances!

Personally, I don’t think a law will work to prevent texting while driving.  The law in my state against driving while talking on a cell phone is nearly universally ignored.  Perhaps the insurance companies will develop actuaries and premiums based on cell phone usage. 

BTW, is that really any different than a policeman talking on his radio while driving or using that laptop while driving?

September 28, 11:16 pm | [comment link]
3. BlueOntario wrote:

Perhaps some will take the position that the law of hazards of texting while driving is often self-enforcing. I suppose its a more transient issue than driving while drunk, but from what I’ve been able to scoop the usual results are similar.

September 28, 11:59 pm | [comment link]
4. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I am pretty sure that the “distracted driving” law would cover texting.  .  . . If someone died and the evidence suggests that the driver was texting or talking on a cell phone, the accident becomes a criminal matter and I believe the charge would be negligent homicide.”

Yup—we already have existing laws that apply to texting.

Another stupid law in the making—more bureaucracy, more enforcement issues, another law on the books.

For the record, I don’t think I have *ever* texted while driving—I can’t imagine how one does it while looking at the road.

September 29, 11:46 am | [comment link]
5. Chris wrote:

is texting so different than dialing a # on your phone?  hmmmm….

September 29, 2:06 pm | [comment link]
6. Jim the Puritan wrote:

As someone who has been a roadside jogger for 27 years, I can tell you that jogging has become considerably more dangerous than it was 10 years ago.  You have always had to be cautious but it is much worse now.  The biggest risk is cars turning at an intersection without looking because they are distracted by talking on their cellphones and are unwilling to look right or left to see if anyone is there.

September 30, 4:05 am | [comment link]
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