Police voice support for 'texting while driving' ban - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police voice support for 'texting while driving' ban

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - Text messaging by cell phone is one of the most popular forms of communication today, especially among young people.

But texting while driving can cause tragic results. Now, a bill in the Mississippi State House would ban newly licensed teenage drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel.

"It's dangerous, therefore they're gonna end up killing somebody or having serious wrecks, and it's something they shouldn't be able to do," parent Debra Sexton said.

Under the bill, a new driver caught texting could face a misdemeanor charge and fine of up to $500 dollars. If it causes an accident, the fine would be up to $1000.

Southaven Assistant Police Chief Steve Pirtle supports the bill.

"We think its a good idea," Pirtle said. "There's so much traffic on the roads today, so much going on out here, they need to concentrate on driving instead of texting."

If passed, the ban would only apply to drivers with learner's permits, and those with intermediate licenses. It would also change the minimum driving age for an intermediate license from 15 to 16.

Sexton thinks the law should go even further.

"It's a very good law if they pass it, but it don't only need to be in Mississippi, it needs to be every state that passes it," she said.

Pirtle called it 'the worst feeling in the world' to have to tell a parent their child has died in an accident.

He hopes the law will pass, and said Southaven police will form a plan to enforce it as soon as possible.

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