U.S. drivers think texting while driving should be banned; voice technology seen as safer

A national survey released in September 2009 showed that that 86 % of U.S. drivers believe handheld texting while driving is “very dangerous” and 93% would support a nationwide ban on texting.

It seems that even with a national ban on texting while driving, people do not think the unsafe practice would disappear.  Only 42% believe drivers would stop texting while driving if it became illegal. On the other hand, more than 75% believe such a law would be respected if hands-free or voice-activated technologies were available.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Ford Motor Company, who endorsed a proposed nationwide ban on handheld texting in the fall of 2009.

“Research shows that activity that draws drivers’ eyes away from the road for an extended period while driving, such as text messaging, substantially increases the risk of accidents,” said Jim Vondale, director of Ford’s Automotive Safety Office

“A growing number of drivers are using handheld wireless communications devices while driving,” said Dr. Louis Tijerina, Ford senior technical specialist. “Research clearly shows that manual operation of those devices that takes the driver’s eyes from the road for an extended period of time creates the kind of distraction that causes accidents.”

The survey shows that 67% of drivers said they believed voice-activated technology is a safe alternative to texting, and 76% said such a feature would be an appealing feature in a car.

Source: Ford Motor Company, September 26 2009

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