Jackson Co. Residents Speak Out Against Texting & Driving

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Jasmine Harris can't stand to see people texting on the road.

"I have a little girl, she's only 15-months-old. And then I have somebody in front of me or behind me, and they could injure either one of us."

Harris is one of the many Jackson County residents scared of drivers who text. Tammy Crossley says texting is so distracting that she can't imagine trying to text and drive.

"You can't be doing anything but texting. And I know that because I do text, but not behind the wheel," Crossley said.

Pascagoula Police Lieutenant Matt Chapman says distracted drivers cause countless accidents, and he says texting is possibly the cause of these accidents.

"People don't tell us as much what they were doing when they have an accident. But you see it all the time, somebody driving with a cell phone either glued to their head or in their hand."

Many residents say the text epidemic is a ticking time bomb, just waiting to bring tragedy to South Mississippi.

"I have seen a lot of kids do it, it's real bad, it's a bad habit," said Harris. "They just started doing it all of a sudden."

And studies show that texting while driving is as dangerous as it seems. One study suggests that driving while texting could be the equivalent of driving after four alcoholic drinks. Another says one out of every five drivers admits to driving and texting. That means that one out of every five cars on the road could be a serious safety hazard.

James Peacock says everyone with a cell has been guilty of driving and texting.

"I do sometimes. I try not to though because I've actually ran off the road trying to before," he said.

He's not the only one. Nader Shayesteh says he's had a few brushes with disaster as well.

"A couple of times I almost got into an accident from looking at my phone and texting and not looking on the road," he said. "If you take your eyes off the road, you're in total jeopardy. That's like being totally handicapped."

Some say it's time for a change. Only a handful of states, including Louisiana, currently have laws against texting and driving, but some say Mississippi needs to adopt one too.

"There should be some law that says no texting while driving, it would be hard to enforce," said Chapman.