Americans back ban on mobile phones while driving: poll

Americans back ban on mobile phones while driving: poll
Nearly two-thirds of American support a national ban on the use of mobile phones while driving, even if the driver is using a hands-free device, a poll released Thursday found.

Nearly two-thirds of American support a national ban on the use of mobile phones while driving, even if the driver is using a hands-free device, a poll released Thursday found.

A cell phone ban would increase highway safety “a great deal,” said nearly half the 2,424 adults interviewed for the survey by pollsters at Quinnipiac University.

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Seventy percent of the people polled said they rarely or never used a mobile phone while driving.

Only 10 percent said they used a phone “very often” while at the wheel of a vehicle, and another 20 percent admitted to “sometimes” using their phone while driving, the poll, which was conducted from November 8-15, found.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called even hands-free cell phone use while driving a “cognitive distraction” and said he may push Congress for a national ban on using a phone, including hands-free devices, while at the wheel.

Some 5,500 people were killed last year by distracted drivers and half a million were maimed or injured, according to the Department of Transportation.

Many of the distracted drivers were using their mobile phones, iPods or Blackberries, LaHood said at a summit on distracted driving earlier this year.

Women were more likely than men to back a national ban on mobile phone use by drivers. Seventy percent of women backed the idea, compared to 55 percent of men.

Support for a ban on mobile phone use was also divided along age lines, with older Americans more likely than their younger counterparts to back the ban.

Three-quarters of the over-55s said a ban was a good idea compared to just over half of 18- to 34-year-olds.

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