JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Nearly every day as I am driving around the metro, I will see someone with their phone in front of their face while they are driving, oftentimes at high rates of speed on the interstate, paying no attention to the road or the cars around them.
They stare down at the screen, swerving back and forth across the white and yellow lines, sometimes moving into the lanes of oncoming traffic. It really is unbelievable… and could be deadly.
Some studies show texting and driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving, yet the state legislature refuses to address this issue. Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal, who advocated for tougher laws to fight distracted driving, is disappointed state leaders didn’t act this session.
“I don’t know what the main catch is with the legislators, why they don’t want to pass it. We’ve already got the one that’s out there right now that makes it a civil penalty. I don’t know why they won’t let the almost 8,000 law enforcement officers in Mississippi put this tool on their tool belt to protect residents. This is something that we need; it’s a law that needs to be on the books.”
Based on the unwillingness of state leaders to address this deadly issue, it seems they are opposed to someone driving down the road swigging on a fifth of Jack Daniels, but if the deadly weapon is a mobile phone… well, that’s okay.
Many states have laws in place to address dangerous cell phone use while driving. We can easily replicate those laws here.
This is common sense legislation and, just like Chief Neal, we believe state leaders should support this non-controversial legislation, making our roads safer and ultimately saving lives.