U.S. drivers: Get tough on texting

nsc logoThree out of four U.S. drivers support tougher punishments for text messaging and driving, a recent poll suggests. There was little support for the current penalties, which vary widely and are for the most part established by states and municipalities.

More than half of those surveyed in the National Safety Council poll backed the use of a point system that would eventually lead to a loss of the driver’s license or increased insurance premiums. A majority also backed “large monetary fines” and escalating penalties for serial offenders.

“Most people recognize that it will take more than awareness campaigns to stop this dangerous behavior,” said NSC president and CEO Deborah Hersman.

The NSC leader previously was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, where she called in 2011 for a complete ban on cell phone use while driving — regardless of whether a hands-free device was employed. No state has passed a law banning all cell phone use while driving, and six do not prohibit texting by all drivers.

The national survey of 1,098 panelists with both cell phones and driver’s licenses was conducted March 3-7.

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