British Columbians Support Provincial Government Action On Driving Cell Phone Ban
Overwhelming majority (94%) Support Provincial Government Legislation on Cell Phone Usage while Driving, Although Some Feel the Government Could Have Gone Further
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Vancouver, BC – A new Ipsos Reid poll in BC reveals that British Columbia residents strongly support the new proposed legislation that will ban cell phone usage while driving as of January 1, 2010. A strong majority of residents support the ban (92%), with three-quarters of the population "strongly supporting" it (75%).
The poll also asked whether residents support various other aspects of the ban. There is nearly universal support for the ban on sending/receiving text messages (96% total support, 93% strongly support) and sending/receiving emails while driving (98% total support, 94% strongly support). There is also strong support for the ban on using hands-free devices for new drivers under the Graduated License Program (89% total support, 73% strongly support) and moderate support for exceptions to the legislation for police, fire and ambulance drivers while working during emergencies.
What's more, one-third (34%) believe that the provincial government should have gone one step further to prohibit the use of hands-free devices while driving as well. Older residents are much more likely to agree with this compared to their younger counterparts. Nearly half of those over the age of 55 (45%) think that the provincial government should ban hands-free devices as well, compared to just over half (28%) of those aged 35 to 54 and 29% of those 18 to 34.
One month after the ban is put in place, on February 1, 2010, drivers caught using a cell phone will be fined $167. Over one-third (36%) feel that this fine is too low. A further 44% feel that it is about right, while 17% think it is too high. Those aged 18-34 are more likely to think the fine is too high (25% of 18-34 compared to 10% of 55+). Similarly, males (22%) are also more likely to think the fine is too high relative to females (11%)
The poll also finds that a minority of residents plan to break the law. When asked what activities BC residents expect to participate in while driving after the new legislation comes into place, just under one-in-ten (7%) admit that they will talk on a non-hands-free phone while driving, 5% will use hand-held music or portable gaming devices, 2% will read/send text messages and 1% will read/send emails. Males and younger age groups are more likely to admit to making an infringement here. Those aged 18 to 34 (13% compared to 2% of those 55+) and males (12% versus 3% of females) confess that they will talk on their cell phones while driver after the legislation passes.
These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid online poll conducted between October 29th and November 6th, 2009 with a representative sample of 758 adult British Columbians. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.64 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of British Columbians been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. The polling was conducted using Ipsos Reid's "Voice of the West Interactive Forum" – an online panel of more than 6,000 British Columbians who have been randomly recruited to match the overall characteristics of the adult residents of the province.
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