Moss Point students promise to stop dangerous driving habit

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) – Teen drivers are young and inexperienced, and they can be easily distracted behind the wheel. One serious distraction is texting and driving. On Friday, hundreds of Moss Point High students promised to put the brakes on this dangerous habit.

"Oh my God! Oh my God!" a girl's voice screamed.

The auditorium fell silent as the students listened to the frightening 911 call.

"The car is in half.  It's split in half. The other half is down the street," the voice told the dispatcher.

The dramatic video included personal stories from teens who have been involved in fatal accidents.  Moss Point's mayor admitted that she, too, has been guilty of being distracted while driving.

"I wasn't talking on the phone, but I now remember I was reaching for my phone and took my eyes off the road and I hit a guy. It wasn't tragic. I was blessed, but it could have been," said Mayor Aneice Liddell.

With car crashes being the leading cause of teenage deaths, Moss Point High hosted the program to urge teens to stop a dangerous driving habit.

"I've seen people on their cell phone. I've seen people with their knees holding the steering wheel and they were texting," said Rep. Billy Broomfield of Moss Point.

"Keep in mind, when you're looking down at the phone and your eyes are off the road, and you're traveling 70. You just covered the length of a football field and you have not seen that 18 wheeler in your lane yet," said Johnny Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

State Farm and AT&T encouraged the students to sign a pledge to not text and drive.

"We want these pledges to stay near and dear to your hearts," said Kathleen Shaughnessy with AT&T. "AT&T feels responsible as a cell phone provider to raise your awareness about staying focused and not texting while driving."

"We want to help save lives.  So it's you that we want to protect and we also want to protect those people that you know," said Loretta Jennings with State Farm.

"I'm promising to never text while driving and to always try to pay attention. I don't even like to make phone calls while driving," said Moss Point High senior Stephen Benn.

"One of my friends got killed a long time ago from texting and driving," said Moss Point High senior Austin Hill.  "I thought it was really great that they came out here and did that and showed us that we shouldn't do that."

"Take it seriously. Make a vow to yourselves that you're going to do better.  I'm going to do the same thing," said Mayor Liddell.

"Because no message is worth dying for, no message," said Rep. Broomfield.

Broomfield told the students that he plans to introduce a bill in January to ban texting and driving for all drivers in Mississippi.

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