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Deuce McAllister and Others Team Up to “X the Text”

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 Apr 2011 03:27pm | comments

Mississippi has the highest rate of teenage deaths due to vehicle crashes, according to a recent study. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on a campaign meant to lower that number by reminding teens to put down the phone when behind the wheel.

Nearly six thousand teenagers die in traffic accidents each year, and experts say distracted driving is one of the main factors in many of those crashes. Teenagers like Callaway High School senior Ceclia Nelson are most at risk. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for the age group.

"When I was leaving Northpark my sister, she was texting, and she almost hit another car, but luckily she saw it in time. I was scared. I was freaking out, but I had my seatbelt on so I was safe, but she didn't have her's on."

The Jackson Teen Seat Belt Coalition, Allstate Insurance, and Deuce McAllister's Catch 22 Foundation have teamed up for a program called X the text. McAllister spoke with students at Callaway High School in Jackson.

"We're having them to stop not only talking on the cell phone while they're driving, but texting while they're driving. I'm guilty of it at times myself, but if we can get them to be more cognizant of what's going on it might not only be their own life they're saving, but it may be someone else.", says McAllister.

Speed is the leading cause cited in teenage driving fatalities, but experts say the number of deaths due distracted driving is quickly rising. Stephen James owns an Allstate Insurance agency in Jackson. He says texting and driving is dangerous for anyone...especially when the driver is young and inexperienced.

"Five seconds. And what that is it's like you're driving across a football field at 55 miles per hour blind. That's what it's like. That's what texting is because you take your eyes off the road for those five seconds so it's a big distraction."

James says texting while driving increases the chance of being in a crash by almost 25 percent. Allstate's study says from 2000 until 2006 nearly nine hundred teens died on Mississippi roads. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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