Knox officials take stand against texting and driving

Knox officials take stand against texting and driving

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By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Texting and driving is blamed for 100,000 car accidents a year in the United States. It's illegal to text and drive in Tennessee but all you have to do is look at the driver next to you and chances are they're talking on the phone or texting.

Now officials in Knoxville and Knox County are taking a stand against texting and driving. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced their partnership Wednesday with the It Can Wait campaign. The mayors teamed up with AT&T to encourage drivers to not text while driving. AT&T is urging the nation's drivers to take a pledge to never text and drive.

Eddie Biggs is the Chief Deputy of the Knox County Sheriff's Office. He's been in law enforcement for 32 years. He says even though texting and driving is illegal, all too often he goes to the scene of a crash where texting and driving was the cause.

"It's heart rendering actually it makes your stomach sink to realize this could have been averted or wouldn't of happened if it hadn't been for that," said Chief Deputy Biggs.

To help increase safety on the roadways AT&T Regional Director Alan Hill is encouraging people to sign a pledge to not text and drive. September 19, 2012 is being called the National No Text on Board Pledge Day.

"Texting and driving is against the law in Tennessee first people need to observe that and they don't need to be distracted by texting so we have a safer highway system here in Knox County," said Hill.

Mayors Rogero and Burchett signed a proclamation recognizing the No Text on Board initiative. Mayor Burchett agrees with the pledge slogan, "Texting and driving it can wait."

 

"Texting and driving is deadly and there's no reason to do it," said Mayor Burchett.

Officials say if a driver is texting, they are 23 times more likely to be in an accident. Also if a person is driving 55 miles per hour and texts for five seconds they'll travel the length of a football field.

"If you think of driving blind folded on any street here in East Tennessee it's not a good thing," said Hill.

Chief Biggs says any distraction even for a few seconds can change a persons life forever.

"That's what costs them long term, whether they are crippled or their families have lost a loved one over it," said Chief Deputy Biggs.

Police take this law seriously. If you're caught texting while driving, you could face criminal charges.

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