We have previously written that California has among the most stringent distracted driving laws in the nation. The District of Columbia and 44 states have banned texting while driving, but California is one of just 13 states (along with D.C.) to ban talking on a handheld cellphone behind the wheel.
Yet distracted driving and the car accidents caused by it are major problems that do not seem to be going away. This is especially vexing in light of the fact that the vast majority of Americans seem strongly opposed to distracted driving generally, and texting while driving in particular. According to the results of a national poll released last month by the National Safety Council, about 73 percent of Americans favor stronger enforcement of anti-texting laws.
This includes increasing the current penalties for offenders who get caught. Approximately 50 percent of respondents favored “large monetary fines.” Fifty-one percent said they’d like to see different penalties for repeat offenders than for first-time offenders. And 52 percent would approve of penalties that included a point system. A certain number of points could result in higher insurance costs and the loss of a driver’s license.
It is hard to get a truly accurate estimate of the number of distracted drivers on U.S. roads at any given time. However, this survey’s high number of respondents in favor of stronger anti-texting laws seems to contradict previous surveys wherein nearly as many respondents admitted to engaging in distracting driving behaviors behind the wheel (including but not limited to texting). This suggests that at least some of the people calling for stronger anti-texting laws are looking to be saved from their own bad habits.
As we have noted in past posts, safe driving is fundamentally a choice. Our busy lives make it tempting to multi-task behind the wheel, but we don’t have to give into this temptation. The risk is simply not worth it. Please make the choice to drive distraction-free at all times.
Source: Forbes, “Most People In Favor Of Stiffer Penalties For Texting While Driving, New Poll Finds,” Tanya Mohn, June 30, 2014