Teen drivers pledge to "X The Text"

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The New Orleans Saints and Allstate Insurance team up to "X the Text" To help save teen lives. Their new national campaign encourages Lake Charles teens to 'X the Text' by pledging not to text and drive. Their latest stop on their Gulf coast tour was Barbe High School.

Most of those teens admit keep their eyes on the road isn't always easy.

"I've texted while driving," said Chamane First, Barbe Junior. "All the time. It's addicting."

"It's a dangerous habit all teens have and it really gets dangerous when you take your eyes off the road and you don't need to text while driving," said Brandon Williams, Barbe Junior.

"Anything can happen when you text and drive, it's not worth it," said Leona Billings, Barbe Junior.

Representing the Super Bowl winning Saints, former player Michael Lewis talked with students about the dangers.

"I used to do it a lot because that was my only way of communication because I hated talking on the phone so I was texting while driving," explained Lewis. "Being new drivers you should not do it because any moment you take your eyes off the road is setting yourself up for disaster."

According to a recent Allstate Foundation study, 82% of driving teens claim to use cell phones while driving, and 49% admit to being extremely distracted by texting and instant messaging while driving. Recent research conducted by Virginia Tech's Transportation Institute reveals that texting while driving can increase the risk of an accident by 23 times.

"What if your friends wind up getting hurt and one of ya'll ends up dying. You will have to live with that for the rest of your life," said Lewis.

Giving their thumbs up, students made a pledge to "X the Text" by placing their thumb print on a banner. To remind them of their commitment they received a thumb read with the message: "texting kills."

"I think I will be able to stop texting... at least while driving, but not while not driving," said First.

"It can wait, definitely wait it's more important to wait for a text and respond to that text late than to not be able to text back at all," said Williams.

Teens who get caught texting on their cell phone behind the wheel face a $175 fine for the first offense and $500 fine for the second and subsequent offenses.

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