Wide support for bans on texting, driving

handheld cell phone driving outlawed billboardAbout 80 percent of Americans favor bans on text messaging while driving, according to a new poll on distracted driving habits. A majority of those polled would like to see laws restricting all types of cell phone use behind the wheel — regardless of whether a hands-free device is employed.

The Nationwide Insurance poll on cell phones and text messaging by drivers, conducted in early August, surveyed more than 1,000 adults nationwide. It was conducted independently, by Harris Interactive.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents backed some controls on cell phone use by drivers.

Three-fourths of those in tech-savvy age groups (21-44) wanted to see bans on text messaging and emailing while driving.

The distracted-driving study found a big drop in those admitting to using cell phones while behind the wheel. In 2008, more than 80 percent of those polled admitted to yakking and motoring. This year, only 49% fessed up. Even though some large states like California have recently outlawed the practice, Nationwide suspected “many drivers are either in denial about their DWD (driving while distracted) habits.”

More than 80% of those who admitted to using cell phones on the road said they wouldn’t change their habit unless laws compelled them to do so. And 18% said they’d drive and phone regardless of what the law said.

While some states restrict handheld cell phone use by younger drivers, the poll found three-quarters of respondents wanted the laws applied equally to all motorists.

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