Poll shows support for ban on texting while driving

| 8/19/2009

Three out of four people who answered an informal poll by Land Line Magazine said they support a federal legislative push to ban text messaging while driving.

The poll question posted at landlinemag.com showed 75 percent in favor of a ban as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, Aug. 19. Nearly 14 percent of respondents answered ‘no’ while nearly 11 percent said they would support a ban only if texting were exempt in certain situations.

Discussions about distracted driving continue as the U.S. Department of Transportation announces dates for a summit to take place Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Location and a list of participants have yet to be announced.

The goal of the summit according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is to generate awareness about the dangers of driver distractions such as text messaging.

“Safety is our number one priority,” LaHood said in a statement. “As we become a more mobile and wireless nation, we can’t afford to ignore new technology’s impact on roadway safety.”

The DOT launched a Web site to promote the summit. Twitter users can follow the latest announcements here.

Lawmakers continue to discuss the issue of driver distraction relating to personal wireless communication.

On July 29, a group of U.S. senators headed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, filed legislation aimed at banning text messaging and the checking of e-mail while driving.

If the law passes, the drivers of cars, trucks, buses and trains could face fines for texting or e-mailing while in motion. The provision would not apply to stopped vehicles.

A number of states, at least 13, have banned or are attempting to ban texting while driving. Several Canadian provinces are also in the process.

– By David Tanner, staff writer