Poll shows overwhelming support for ban on texting while driving

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An overwhelming majority of Floridians supports legislation that would ban texting while driving, according to a new University of Florida poll. 

The poll, conducted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in collaboration with the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research, found that 95 percent of respondents support legislation that would ban texting while driving. Four percent oppose the legislation. 

Previous attempts to pass such legislation have failed for the past three years, leaving Florida as one of only five states without any restrictions on texting while driving. 

The legislation — House Bill 13 and Senate Bill 52 — would create the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law,” which makes texting while driving a secondary offense. In effect, police would have to pull over a driver for another offense, such as failure to wear a seat belt, and could then issue an additional citation for texting while driving.

“Public support for this legislation is remarkable,” said Emma Humphries, assistant in citizenship with the Bob Graham Center. “Legislation is moving quickly and we want to share these numbers before it comes up for a vote.”

The mid-month release is based on data collected from 371 surveys conducted March 1-17, with a 4.92 percent margin of error. The sample is produced through random digit dialing of possible landline phone numbers in Florida. This survey does not include cell phone numbers. Sixty-two percent of all households still maintain a landline and 52.5 percent have both a landline and wireless. Results of the survey are weighted, according to Census information on county, population and age distributions in order to generalize the collected information to the entire state. The weighting adjusts for the lack of cell phone only respondents.

“The results are conclusive,” Humphries said. “We could poll hundreds more Floridians and it wouldn’t change the fact that this legislation is widely popular.”

The center is also tracking public opinion on four other issues being considered by the Florida Legislature. The questions have been added to the UF Survey Research Center’s monthly Survey of Floridians. A minimum of 500 households are surveyed each month, proportionate to households by county.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.