Majority in favor of keeping mobile use while driving a primary offense - 293 participants

Feb 14, 2016

A bill currently being considered by the House Criminal Justice Committee, HB 1435, would limit enforcement of the prohibition on the use of mobile electronic devices while driving to a secondary action when another offense is cited or charged. Under existing law, operating a vehicle while engaging in hands-on use of a mobile device is a primary offense. On February 14, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should NH's prohibition on the use of mobile devices while driving only be enforced when drivers are pulled over for another offense?” The results follow.  

“Should NH's prohibition on the use of mobile devices while driving only be enforced when drivers are pulled over for another offense?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Participation:

A total of 75% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 25% of participants – a significant percentage - engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 872 responses from 293 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: The majority, at 61% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were opposed to changing New Hampshire’s ban on mobile device use while driving to a secondary offense.

  •  “This is dangerous and should be stopped. People are still breaking the law. Changing it would remove the law's backbone.”
  • “I am on the roads a lot and constantly deal with distracted drivers paying more attention to Facebook and texting than on driving. Pull them over and write them up.”
  • “I'm not wild about there being more laws or reasons to be pulled over, but this is a good law, and people need to get it into their heads that driving is not a time to be goofing off on your phone.”

Yes:  The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 39%, were in favor of dropping mobile use while driving to a secondary offense.

  • “I have been pulled over for "using my device" when I wasn't actually using my device. I think you should be doing something else as well to be pulled over.”
  • “Yes, unless it is texting while driving. That is a different issue altogether and should be against the law.”
  • “What is the difference between holding your cell phone to your ear while driving versus using a hands free device? A hand… The distraction level is the same (or better!) than if you look away to fiddle with your radio, drink a coffee, talk to a passenger in your car.”

Other: As noted above, a higher than average portion of participants, at 25%, did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues.

  • By far the most prominent theme among these broader commenters was a call to repeal the state’s mobile device ban entirely: “Drop the cell use law and enforce the already in existence reckless operation law with probable cause.”
  • Other topics discussed included police use of mobile devices: “I see police on their phones going a lot faster than me.”
  • Debate over the difference between talking and texting while driving: “I don't think using a hand held phone to talk is the problem. I think texting which requires looking down and typing to be the problem.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think NH should making using a mobile device while driving a secondary offense? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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