Mississippi has the third highest rate of teen car accident deaths in the nation. MPB's Evelina Burnett reports, a workshop tomorrow at Biloxi High School aims to help improve those statistics by offering information about teen safe driving.
"And she runs out of the house with her makeup in her hand ..."
Biloxi High student Kayla McCorvey reads from part of a skit about the importance of safe driving. It concern a girl running late to meet her new boyfriend. "But what she doesn't expect is to be distracted while applying her lipstick. She never sees the light turn red, and crashes."
Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens in America. Anna Chataginer is also a student at Biloxi High and a member of the national youth advisory board for Students Against Violence Everywhere, or SAVE. She says they’re hoping to share this message about distracted driving:
"Everything can wait," she says. "Just focus on driving. That text can wait, your food can wait, doing your makeup can wait. Everything can wait."
Biloxi High school resource officer Daisy Watson is the advisor for the school's chapter of SAVE. She says distracted driving - which has been shown to increase the risk of crashes, especially among new drivers - is now one of the main issues among teens.
"With the technology we have, of course they're always on their phone," she says. "As soon as they leave campus here, I see so many of the kids with the phone right up to their year. Seatbelts - I think we're pretty good. I get on the kids at the beginning of the year, and they're pretty good. But distracted driving - there's just so much going on that distracts them."
Carleen Wray is executive director of SAVE, which, in partnership with The Allstate Foundation, has given 16 SAVE chapters in Mississippi mini-grants to create teen safe driving campaigns in their local schools.
"We're giving them ways that they can look at things like distracted driving as well as impaired driving, increasing seatbelt use," she says. "And giving the high school students tools that they can go out and work with their peers and increase their safety and security while they're driving a car."
SAVE will give a total of 20 grants this year and is still accepting applications from schools for the remaining four mini-grants.