Nearly two-third of American drivers support a national ban on the use of mobile phones while driving, according to Quinnipiac University National Poll released on Thursday.

Nearly half the 2,424 adults interviewed were also of the opinion that the cell phone ban, which also prohibits usage of hands-free devices, would increase highway safety a great deal, the poll said.

When asked how often they use a cell phone while driving a car, ten percent of voters admitted they talk on a cell phone while driving very often, while 21 percent said sometimes, 38 percent said rarely and 31 percent said never.

Women backed the ban 70 - 26 percent, while men supported the idea 55-42 percent. While half of the voters aged 18-34 years backed the ban, 74 - 22 percent of voters over age 55 called it a good idea, the survey added.

In a country narrowly split on most questions, there is unusual agreement that it is a good idea to ban driving while talking on a cell phone, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, even when a driver is using a 'hands-free device.

Stressing that even the hands-free cell phone use while driving is a cognitive distraction, US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, said that he may push Congress for a national ban on using a phone, including hands-free devices, while at the wheel.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million lives are lost every year in road traffic accidents. In terms of time efficiency, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that people spend on average 52 minutes each working day commuting.

Some 5,500 people were killed last year by distracted drivers and half a million were maimed or injured, according to the Department of Transportation.