Ocean Springs teens promise to stop dangerous driving habit - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs teens promise to stop dangerous driving habit

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) – The principal of Ocean Springs High School admitted he's just as guilty of the dangerous habit.

"So many times I can't even think of it that I have text while driving," David Baggett told his seniors.

Even the mayor of Ocean Springs said she has done it a time or two.

"I do talk on the phone, in the car, and I drive a lot," said Mayor Connie Moran.

And Ocean Springs Representative Hank Zuber talked about a close call he had two weeks ago.

"I was actually talking on my cell phone. The truck in front of me was loaded with furniture.  One of the chairs came out of the truck.  I barely saw the chair before I hit it. I was able to swerve to the left," Zuber told the students.

But the most gripping testimony came from TV advertisements, like the one from a mom who lost her daughter in an accident.

"This was the text our daughter was reading when she drove into oncoming traffic," the woman said, as these words flashed on the screen: 'where u at.'

They all drove home a point: Is texting from behind the wheel of a moving car really worth dying or getting injured over?

"It's that couple of seconds that can take your life away.  And only your loved ones can speak of your regret, because you're gone," AT&T Regional Director Kathleen Shaughnessy told the crowd.

Hundreds of Ocean Springs High School seniors heard real-life stories that pushed a simple message: "Texting Can Wait".  AT&T is behind the national safety campaign.

"I'm a mother and my daughter is here. She is a senior this year, and we're both guilty of texting and driving," said Shaughnessy.  "We're just saying that if you need to text while you're driving, pull over or wait until you get to your location."

More than 100 students then signed a pledge, promising not to read or respond to text messages while driving.

"I signed it because the reality kind of hit on how quick it can happen.  In two seconds and your life could be over.  It's not worth it," said Ocean Springs High senior Caitlin Buono.

"I've been in an accident where a girl was texting on the phone and she kind of swerved and hit me.  But thankfully, nobody was injured.  It could have been a lot worse," said Ocean Springs High senior Glenn Ferrell.

While the campaign is geared towards teenagers, AT&T is also encouraging adults throughout the community to pick up a pen and sign the pledge.

"We're here delivering a message in hopes that we, too, will set good examples for them so they will stop texting and driving," said Shaughnessy.

AT&T will promote the pledge through television ads, online educational tools, even Facebook and Twitter.  The company expects to reach millions of customers nationwide.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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