A new survey released this month says most Mississippians support tightening the state’s law on texting while driving.
Currently Mississippi prohibits texting while driving for those with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety.
There are two bills regarding texting and driving working their way through the current session of the Mississippi Legislature. House Bill 484 would ban texting while driving for anyone 18 or younger, while Senate Bill 2434 states any driver who texts or accesses social media while driving could be charged with careless driving, with conviction carrying a fine anywhere from $5 to $50.
The new survey says 93 percent of respondents showed support for prohibiting texting while driving for all motorists. Forty-three percent of respondents identified crashes caused by texting and driving as their top road safety concern in Mississippi.
The poll was conducted by Southern Research Group, a polling firm in Jackson, Miss. It was conducted via telephone from Feb. 18-22, among 604 Mississippi residents aged 18 and over. The poll was commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company to gauge constituent sentiment as the Mississippi State Legislature considers bills that would address texting while driving.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney also issued a statement on Allstate’s survey results and expressed his support for a ban on texting while driving.
“A new survey commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company, focuses on a growing problem on Mississippi’s roads,” Chaney said. “Drivers become a much greater danger to themselves and others when distracted by smartphones and other electronic devices while driving.”
“Allstate is to be commended for expanding their survey to include opinions concerning a ban on texting for all drivers,” he said.
“Texting while driving is often thought to be a bigger problem among teens and younger drivers, when in reality it is dangerous for anyone who gets behind the wheel to be distracted by reading or answering a text on their phones or other electronic devices,” Chaney said. “Safe drivers need to concentrate on the road ahead and not what’s on their telephone screen.”
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