Where do NH citizens stand on handheld cell phone ban? - 332 citizens, 1175 responses

May 03, 2015

In addition to barring adult drivers from holding their cell phones and talking beginning July 1, HB 1360—which passed last May by the NH House—will disallow drivers under 18 from hands-free mobile phone use altogether. But where does NH public opinion stand on the change? On May 3, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked its nearly 62,000 Facebook members to weigh in on the question, “Do you support the ban on the use of handheld cell phones by drivers that goes into effect on July 1, 2015?”

Opinion on the issue was sharply divided, with 57% of those making or concurring with a direct answer to the question expressing support and 43% opposed. In total, 82% of respondents did provide a yes or no response, with 18% opting to instead discuss the subject in broader terms. In sum, 332 citizens participated in this discussion with a total of 1175 responses.

Out of respondents who expressed support for the ban, many cited safety concerns. “Driving is a life and death responsibility,” noted one respondent. “We need to start treating it like it is not a right, but a privilege to drive.” Others acknowledged they might not like the law, but found it necessary nonetheless. One woman remarked, “Personally, I may hate the law when I can't use my phone, but it is too much of a distraction.”

Many against the ban, however, questioned the logic behind it. “Common sense cannot be legislated,” reasoned one respondent. Some respondents distinguished between texting and talking on the phone, while others argued that the current law is adequate. “Distracted driving is already illegal,” said one gentleman. “Making yet another law that does the same thing is pointless.”

For those who did not provide a direct yes or no to the question, some commented on the nature of cellphone use in general, while others noted driving is an activity predicated on multi-tasking. Others questioned if increased safety will result from the ban, including one gentleman who noted, “Study after study after study has shown hands free is as much of a distraction as hand held.”

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

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