Driving? Put down the phone – or else.
That sums up public sentiment about texting while driving, according to a new public opinion poll from the National Safety Council (NSC).
The new poll shows 73% of respondents think there should be more enforcement of texting while driving laws; only 22% said the current level of enforcement is good enough.
As far as the types of penalties go:
- 52% said penalties should include a point system that could lead to the loss of a driver’s license or increase insurance costs
- 51% were in favor of graduated penalties for first vs. repeat offenses, and
- 50% thought big fines should be used.
No state bans all cell phone use while driving, but 44 states plus Washington, DC, ban texting for all drivers. When it comes to hand-held cell phone use, 13 states plus DC ban it.
Some companies are taking the lead in this area where state governments aren’t. Several Fortune 500 companies, including UPS, DuPont, Chevron, CSX, Shell, Time Warner and Owens-Corning, have voluntarily adopted complete cellphone-bans for their employees while driving.
An NSC poll in 2011 found that of the 150 or so Fortune 500 companies that responded, 20% had a full cellphone ban in place.
The NSC recommends employers prohibit their employees from using both hands-free and handheld devices while driving for company business.
“The polls show the public is behind stronger penalties,” said NSC CEO Deborah Hersman, “because most people recognize that it will take more than awareness campaigns to stop this dangerous behavior.”
What about hands-free devices? About 30 studies show they’re no better. They also cause a reduction in a driver’s concentration level.
Do you agree that stiffer penalties are needed for texting and driving? Let us know in the comments.