Drivers need to stop texting and driving

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

This week, the Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would place a fine on drivers who are texting while driving. This fine would be between $5 and $50.

The bill isn’t going to be a deterrent. There is a larger fine for littering, and littering doesn’t cause the death of thousands of people each year.

Forty-one states have already taken the initiative to ban texting while driving for all drivers, including our neighboring states of Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee. So why such a meager fine in Mississippi?

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It takes an average of three seconds for a distracted driver to cause an accident. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.

According to the U.S. Website for Distracted Driving, in one year the number of people who were injured in motor vehicle accidents because of distracted driving rose nine percent. In 2012, distracted drivers killed 3,328 people.

The National Safety Council estimates 21 percent, or 1.1. million crashes, in 2011 were caused by talking on handheld and hands-free cell phones and that 213,000 of crashes in 2011 involved text messaging.

The problem doesn’t simply lie with the younger generation using cellphones while driving. Adults as well as their children are picking up the bad habit that can cause injuries and deaths.

Drivers can’t even use the excuses of laws being in place because it’s ultimately the responsibility of the driver to make the decision to put the phone away.

So, before you turn on the ignition, put the cell phone away and drive safely. Your fellow motorists and pedestrians will thank you. Hopefully, you won’t become a statistic or part of a national campaign urging people to stop texting while driving.