PUBLIC OPINION > It Shouldn't Be Illegal To Look at Your Cell Phone While Driving

News 2013/04/11 21:00:00
A California appellate court recently ruled that it’s illegal to look at your cell phone while driving, which means no getting directions on Google maps, no checking email and definitely no reading texts. Many Californians are still adjusting to not being allowed to talk on the phone and drive, so the LA Times wanted to know what you thought of this latest ruling.

They asked and you answered, and it turns out that the majority does not agree with the court. 65% voted that it shouldn't be illegal to look at your phone while driving. Let's dig a little deeper shall we?


One of the biggest demographics to support the ruling was the 65+ crowd. 55% of them voted that it should be illegal while the majority of all the other age groups said it shouldn't be. Although some people over the age of 65 use smart phones, it makes sense that the majority of them aren't as addicted to technology as the rest of us. They made it for most of their lives without using Google maps so they aren't too concerned about losing the privilege now.


Libertarian and progressive ideologies are polar opposite when it comes to the role of government in regulating society, so it's not surprising that those two groups felt the strongest out of all the political parties. 69% of libertarians voted against the new regulation while 67% of progressives were for it. The majority of conservatives (59%) and liberals (52%) actually agreed on this one, too, which is also pretty telling. If political extremists are the only groups supporting a law, then it must be pretty far off.


Having children affected the vote on this question, but not in the way you might assume. Although you'd think parents would be more concerned about safe driving than people without kids, a small majority of parents (51%) voted that looking at your phone while driving shouldn't be illegal. But the majority of people who don't ever want children (53%) were for the law. Do parents need to look at their phones while driving more than people who don't have kids? Or is this another case of parents not wanting the government's help in regulating their families?

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit the LA Times' poll on looking at phones while driving. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • spike66 2013/04/11 22:04:58
    texting yes....just looking at you phone...stupid. so is looking at your dash gonna be illegal too?

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  • Brispir 2013/11/19 02:03:21
    The thing is, if you take your eyes off the road, you can crash... even for just a second. Happened to me. Thankfully, nobody died or anything, but a vehicle is a rolling death machine unless you have absolute control over it... and if you're distracted, you can kill yourself or somebody else.
  • cheviac 2013/11/11 00:52:55
    Cell phones should NOT be used in a moving vehicle. Or while crossing the street, or in a restaurant, or while having sex!
  • Jeremy Tucker 2013/09/23 12:49:29
    Jeremy Tucker
    Sounds like something California would do. I don't understand who would want to live there.
  • TKramar 2013/09/18 10:45:37
    Ban them.
  • millajo 2013/08/21 11:35:39
    ban them
  • John 2013/07/13 11:33:19
    Answering and receiving calls is fine, I mean everyone else does it.
  • Jaye 2013/06/19 16:17:48
    I think it should be both texting & talking on phone. the reason why I said both is that you have to look down at the screen & letters & talking on the cellphone I've all most gotten hit by people who talk on their cellphones. I don't know if blue tooth with the speaker in your ear is any better.
  • quaingerard 2013/05/20 11:54:58
    agree with court decision, leave the mobiles for when your not driving
  • Bill 2013/04/25 03:57:12
    Yes, if people don't show enough common sense to shut off their smart phone while driving their car, they need to be reminded to do so with a ticket. There is enough distraction while driving, and a cell phone is the ultimate distraction. If you have a phone mount, and can converse hands free, then possibly it could be used with moderation. Hand held phones should be outlawed while driving.
  • Jaiheena Star 2013/04/17 06:42:16
  • Jaiheena Star 2013/04/17 06:40:53
  • Simon 2013/04/16 16:06:56
    FFS whats next one can not preform fellatio on one's self while driving. This is America!
  • Jeremiah Lee 2013/04/16 13:55:43
  • Gnarly Sheen 2013/04/16 11:51:13
    Gnarly Sheen
    That's a bit too far for my liking. We all have different things going on in our lives. What if our wives go into labor, our sick elderly parent(s) are dying, or one of our children gets rushed to the hospital? Where I live traffic is already jut awful. Now imagine massive amounts of cars pulling off or stopping to see what might be happening in their life. People would be late, cause more congestion. When we are taught to drive, we are told to check our mirrors constantly. What difference does it make if you take a half of second to see who is trying to reach us. I'm not saying that we should text away while driving. It is dangerous if you don't know how to do it safely, but not being able to look at all? So what's the next step? Whatever radio station is on when we start our cars is the one we must listen to, because last I checked you still have to look at the radio to increase volume, change stations, read what new song is playing. I guess I should stop chewing gum while I walk & drinking coffee while I read too....just in case. Lmao
  • JamesChevyII 2013/04/16 11:42:57
    I believe they should ban them all the time while driving... Too many wrecks attributed to talking, texting, etc while driving... If you use a hands free to talk, that's not as bad, but they just can't leave it at talking... Pull over if you have to take a call of text...
  • Robbb 2013/04/16 10:37:54
    It hardly matter what the public wants though does it? The public also authorities the government to enact laws that protect them from idiots. and lets face it driving the a mobile in your hand is stupid. texting is even worse. I definitely have no problem with the government making it hard for morons that put my safety last on the road pay attention to what they should be doing, like keep me alive by not hitting me or my kids. This argument is so stupid it beggars belief. it is like the argument over guns.
  • Always lonely 2013/04/16 09:29:34
    Always lonely
    No not looking at your cell.
  • Mark Mercer 2013/04/16 06:12:16
    Mark Mercer
    when your car is running, your cell should shut off.
  • Steven Carr 2013/04/16 02:28:17
    Steven Carr
    Why not just replace our windshields with a big screen SMART SCREEN T.V.!
  • findthelight2000 2013/04/15 19:59:26
    Another source that proves Libertarians and Conservatives far too irresponsible to be in charge of anything.
  • Denai, The Li't Sasquatch 2013/04/15 17:26:50
    Denai, The Li't Sasquatch
    Leave your phone in your pocket and just drive...
    Your car is not a rolling phone booth.
  • PapaBC 2013/04/15 16:38:05
    To much control by a nanny state... OK you can not text or talk on a cell,
    Some cell have a GPS to help drivers find an address. That should be OK unless you outlaw all GPS devices.
  • findthe... PapaBC 2013/04/15 20:00:54
    If it weren't for that Nanny you hate so much, you would probably be dead by now.
  • radar PapaBC 2013/04/16 05:40:27
  • Jerry PapaBC 2013/05/31 14:50:48
    Just because the technology exists, it doesn't mean it's good. We used to live without GPS and mobiles. It's nice to have it, so what's so hard to stop the car and get information as you did with paper map?
    Freedom has it's limits. This one can be deadly!
  • V~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2013/04/15 15:27:24
    My phone is my GPS and MP3 player. It has voice recognition and it gives spoken directions through my car audio system. I tell it where I want to go and it tells me how to get there. It sits in a special cradle, right next to the car's computer display. As an added bonus, it pauses the music when the GPS speaks. When I park, I take the phone with me, so there is nothing for a thief to steal.

    If I view or touch a smart phone to perform a function other than making a call, how is that any different from using a car stereo or built-in GPS?

    Also, there are times when you are stuck in traffic at a speed of zero (or nearly zero). At such times, it makes perfect sense to use the phone to call people who are waiting for you, notifying them of the problem.

    Cars are full of potential distractions, the phone is only one of them.
  • Sherry 2013/04/15 14:47:12
    Get a GPS. You know, one that talks to you and gives you spoken directions. You know that people aren't 'just always looking' at their cell phone when driving. See it everyday. See near accidents of it almost everyday. Seen pictures of and heard from people who thought/think they are an exception when it comes to death and cell phone texting and talking and driving. It's not just yourself you could be condemning to death. Pull over where it's safe, if you must text, talk, when behind the wheel.
  • harley oldman 2013/04/15 13:47:27
    harley oldman
    Theres NO way to Enforce this if were make ileagal...........Its just DUMB to do it...!
  • Professor Wizard 2013/04/15 13:33:19
    Professor Wizard
    So.. what specific genetic defect did Police receive at birth, that makes it so they can drive while looking at School Video Monitors - Key information on their in-car notebook - listen and talk on police radio - talk on their personal cell phone - watch the Radar equipment - talk to their partner - and look at paperwork... .. .. all while cruising down the highway at 65mph... ( I actually saw a cop doing this!).

    but Civilians lack this gene, and can't glance at a cellphone!

    BS... either you are coordinated enough, or you are not.. .. ..
  • radar Profess... 2013/04/16 05:41:11
  • Profess... radar 2013/04/16 13:27:25
    Professor Wizard
    Cool.. so some entrepreneurs should start Multitasking while driving training courses... get the state to sanction them - and then create a license system where people that want to use cellphones while driving have to take the course and get the endorsement on their drivers license.

    and maybe a Green Dot on their license plate, so cops know without looking them up.
  • Jerry Profess... 2013/05/31 15:02:30
    You are a silly man. Police has extensive training while most people are lousy drivers.
    Not all but it takes a few idiots and people die.
  • Profess... Jerry 2013/05/31 15:14:48
    Professor Wizard
    Actually - you are WAY wrong.. Police take ZERO training on the ability to multitask while driving a car. and many police are just as lousy a driver as civilizations.

    What ever percentage of civilian population equates as bad drivers - that same percentage of police are bad drivers.

    You forget Police are nothing more then humans, just like those humans who are not police. Police are NOT some genetically superior race of special beings.

    It irks me when people make statement indicating police are super-human.. they are NOT!
  • Jerry Profess... 2013/05/31 21:29:00
    Maybe where you live, people drive better than police.
  • Kris 2013/04/15 10:37:41
  • Amber 2013/04/15 05:09:31
    "Do parents need to look at their phones while driving more than people who don't have kids?"

    No one NEEDS to look at his or her phone while driving. People drove for decades just fine without them. It makes me really angry that people act like cellphones are a right and a necessary part of life. Put the dang things down. You're going to kill someone.
  • Commander McBragg 2013/04/15 03:51:24 (edited)
    Commander McBragg
    This is a hard one. I say it should be a factor in a careless driving charge-compounded by one's proximity to other vehicles. One should not be in trouble just for looking at their phone if no particular outward symptoms of poor driving are present. In fact, if the police pull someone over alleging that person was distracted driving due in part to their phone usage but the person can prove that their phone was actually turned off at the time, the cop should be reprimanded. So police would have to be VERY sure the phone was relevant in distracted driving. On the other hand if it is proven to have been a factor, the motorist should face stiff penalties-again only if the motorist was actually driving poorly as well.
  • sundance 2013/04/15 03:50:54
    See, the above vote simply drives home the truth. We all know that texting and other phone related accidents and deaths, are at nearly epidemic levels. Yet, not only will we continue this madness, but we will fight legislation to stop the madness. Why? Because we are all self centered, self ingratiating and self absorbed. We will be the first to sue your ass off if your liable causes us harm. However, even though we know that cell phones distract drivers, and take exorbitant toll on life and property, we are not willing to accept any personal responsibility and curb their use. This is just the simple, pathetic truth...Just a thought...
  • ~TheDreamer~ 2013/04/15 03:43:23
    uummm no.

    Okay, it's not like it should be a law...but people, don't be so dumb. It's not only your life at stake when you aren't paying attention.
  • Prime Time Lime 2013/04/15 01:36:41
    Prime Time Lime
    I have seen too many times even people talking on a phone do not pay attention to driving,they often steer out of their lane,and are all over the road.This is not even looking at the phone,and they are already dangerous.Looking at a phone even for a split second is dangerous,and this law makes sense.

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