JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Texting related accidents are on the rise across the nation.
New data shows that drivers who use their cell phones are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
Eighteen states have passed laws aimed at keeping drivers off their phones while on the road. In Mississippi there are no laws on the books banning texting and driving but that's not to say some haven't tried.
Representative Billy Broomfield of Moss Point has attempted to past legislation banning texting and driving for the past two years. Both times his bills have died in committee. Having been run off the road by drivers distracted by their phones more than once, he said he'll keep trying to get a law passed.
"Looking at the data in Mississippi, my concern was to help save lives. Vehicles are a dangerous weapon; it's a serious weapon if it is not handled correctly," says Broomfield.
Mississippi Highway Patrol defensive driving coach Lori Smith says many people who text and drive don't even realize the danger they put themselves in. Many remove their eyes from the roadway for extended periods of time to look at their phones. Some even remove their hands from the steering wheel to operate their phone, putting their lives at even greater risk.
"You also got your eyes leaving the roadway and looking at your cell phone. Also you have to concentrate on sending the message back; that's another thing that takes away from your concentration on the road," said Smith.
A recent survey from AAA shows one in five US drivers admit to texting while driving at least once in the last thirty days. A dangerous activity for motorists who should be concentrating on the road.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.