Sunday, September 27, 2020

Mississippi drivers not distracted, but what about Ole Miss students?

Dwight Arbuckle works hard to keep campus pedestrians safe from distracted drivers. Photo by Jack Newsom.

Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of distracted driving incidents in the country, according to a new study. The state had zero distracted driving-related fatalities from 2015 to 2017.

Dwight Arbuckle is a crossing guard at the University of Mississippi.  He deals with drivers on campus every day and found the new study a little surprising.

“On campus, I see a lot of people on their cell phones or talking to their friends, just a lot of people not paying much attention to the road,” said Arbuckle.

Oxford Police Department Lieutenant David Mahaffey says that there are plenty of accidents caused by distracted driving in Oxford and around the state, but the wrecks may not always be reported that way.

“Sometimes it can be hard to prove whether someone was on their phone or not, but if I do see someone on their phone, I’ll signal for them to put their phone down.”

Mahaffey says distractions have always been a problem for drivers, but phones are today’s biggest culprit.

“You can wait a few minutes while you’re driving in your car before checking your phone. It can wait.”

For UM students, Arbuckle has one piece of advice.

“Just focus on where it’s going or else your gonna have that accident,” said Arbuckle. “It’s just that simple.”

Story contributed by Jack Newsom and Jacob Duke.