JCJC students discover the dangers of texting and driving

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-03-08 15:48:34

ELLISVILLE – The effects of texting and driving became more realistic to several hundred Jones County Junior College students, with the help of PEER Awareness. The Michigan based health and wellness organization helps individuals realize the dangers of texting while driving in a safe, virtual world. The company utilizes the AWARE-TXT Simulator, allowing people to sit in a real car which is suspended and monitored with sensors to simulate real driving.
 
“I’m usually cautious,” said Ellisville sophomore, Miranda Farmer. “However this made me realize I’m not as cautious as I thought. I was concentrating on texting and couldn’t drive as well, and my text didn’t make sense.”

JCJC counselor, Jacquelyne Barnett hopes students, and all of us understand the message the JCJC Student Success Center is trying to communicate. “There are approximately 500,000 cell phone related accidents each year with about 6,000 fatalities. Texting and driving is eight times more dangerous than drinking and driving.” 

Khloe Folkers, a JCJC freshman from Ocean Springs discovered as a freshman in high school how dangerous this common activity can be when she got in an accident on the beach. “I still text but I give my phone to my passenger.”
 
Peer Awareness and JCJC asked students to take a stand and ‘band’ together to end this potentially deadly habit. After driving the simulator and texting, students were asked to wear a bright rubber band on their texting thumb as a reminder.
 
Chris Hilliard, a JCJC sophomore from Laurel admitted to texting while driving however during the simulated activity, he almost wrecked a couple of times.
 
“I slowed down and texted short and still got in trouble,” said Hilliard. “Texting and driving is something we don’t need to do, so I will probably ignore more texts while I’m driving.”
 
Erica Sterling is one of the many teens who tried to text and drive and ran into a tree. The Quitman freshman said, “I can’t text and I’m not going to text. This just reminded me.”
 
In his travels across the nation with the AWARE-TXT Simulator, Roger Tower shared most people are really unaware of how texting effects their driving. 
 
“Eleven teens are killed each week from texting and driving,” said Tower. “Texting is the equivalent to drinking six drinks.”
 
Barnett added, “Even texting while stopped at a red light can be dangerous, as it was for one JCJC student who was hit from behind because she didn't notice the light had turned green. We need to just put our cell phones down while we drive.”
 
Teens are currently not allowed to text and drive by state law. Mississippi legislators are currently contemplating whether to make it illegal for everyone to text and drive.

 

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