Distracted Driving is Increasing Across the Country

Distracted Driving is Increasing Across the Country
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Teenager looks at phone while driving
Centers for Disease Control

Experts say that distracted driving is increasingly becoming a problem across the country. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports on how people can stay safe on the road.

About nine people are killed every day and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control. Captain Johnny Poulos is with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He says the human brain is only capable of doing so many things at one time and texting while driving isn't one of them.

"I think the main problem is we've grown accustomed to using cellular devices in everything we do every single day... in how we live our lives... how we communicate with our families... how we do our jobs," said Poulos. "But unfortunately it's causing crashes on the roadways and loss of life."

In 2015, Mississippi implemented a law that prohibits texting and posting to social media while driving.

As prom season gets underway across the state -- Sherrel Clark with Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- has advice for adolescents going to the prom.

"First and foremost, teens can stay safe not drinking and driving," said Clark. "Also, don't get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or under the influence of any kind of drugs. And that can be street drugs or prescription drugs."

Approximately 300 teens have died in alcohol-related traffic incidents during prom weekends over the past several years. That's according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jace Ponder is with the Department of Transportation. He says drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and focus on the road at all times.

"The texts can wait, the conversations can wait, eating food in the car that can wait until you reach your destination," said Ponder. "I understand we all live busy lives. But it's better to arrive at your destination alive then it is to take that risk and get in an accident."

Drivers in Mississippi caught texting and driving can face a minimum $100 fine.