JCJC Students Get Crash Course in Texting and Driving

By Kelly Bryant

Jones County Junior College's Student Success Center Couselor, Jacquelynn Barnett, gave students the opportunity to use a virtual driving simulator Tuesday to encourage students not to text and drive. She said,  "Texting and driving has become essentially an epidemic."

It's so distracting that, according to statistics, it's even more dangerous than drinking and driving. In order to urge students to kick the habit, JCJC cranked up a special car that simulated being on a virtual road. Students were challenged to text and drive simultaneously. Sophomore Demona Williams says she knows the dangers, but does it anyway. She said, "I believe texting and driving, it is dangerous, I try not to text and drive, I do, but I try not to."

Williams recounted her virtual texting and driving trip. And let's just say, the outcome wasn't shocking. She said, "Whoo...I was on the wrong side of the road 60% of the time. I had a wreck within a block."

So what's the draw? The general public knows not to drink and drive, what makes texting different? Williams says it's just something people her age are used to, she said,

"It's not a big deal to us, we do it all the time...We figure that we can do other things while we text, so it just doesn't seem like it's a big deal."

After most of the students crashed their virtual cars, they were asked to sign a pledge saying they would think twice before texting and driving. Counselor Barnett said the students had a good time with the exercise, but thinks thru main goal was reached. She said, "They're all kinda cracking up laughing about it, but when they walk away, I think it has really hit home because they have seen the damage that can be caused."

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