British Columbians are overwhelmingly in support of restricting cellphone use while driving, according to survey results released yesterday.

The B.C. Automobile Association study saw 91 per cent of respondents say there should be restrictions on talking on phones while driving, and 97 per cent say that texting behind the wheel should be banned.

The response was one of the largest to any BCAA survey, said Trace Acres, director of corporate communications. “Of the 7,311 who responded, over 4,000 provided comments,” Acres said.

When it came to new drivers, 97 per cent of respondents said there should be restrictions on the use of mobile communications devices while they go through the stages of the Graduated Licensing Program.

Acres said the results provide valuable information for the provincial government as it considers the issues of talking and texting behind the wheel.

“Where we saw the division was … when we asked how far should restrictions go? Should it be a complete ban on any use of cellphones, or should it only be on the use of handheld phones and still allow talking using some form of hands-free device?”

According to the survey, 60 per cent of British Columbians said all cellphones should be banned and 40 per cent said hands-free devices should be permitted.

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