For Mo. students, cell phone debate isn't academic

December 17, 2011 - 2:20 PM
Texting While Driving Towns Grief

In this Dec. 15, 2011 photo, bright knee-high socks and wreaths of flowers adorn Jessica Brinker's headstone at a Catholic cemetery in St. James, Mo. Brinker was 15 when she was killed in August 2010 when the bus on which she was riding with fellow members of her high school's marching band was involved in a pileup accident investigators say began with a pickup truck's driver who had been texting behind the wheel. Federal transportation officials are keying on the crash as reason for their call for all states to ban cell phone use by drivers. (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)

ST. JAMES, Mo. (AP) — Young people in one Missouri town understand the quest by a federal agency to outlaw any use of cellphones by drivers, even as the push has met significant resistance elsewhere.

Dozens of band students from St. James were on two school buses involved in a 2010 crash that spurred the recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board. That pileup southwest of St. Louis was the result of texting by a 19-year-old pickup truck driver who died in the wreck, Daniel Schatz.

A student on one bus, 15-year-old Jessica Brinker, also was killed. Her former classmates say the horrific scene was enough to convince them that texting and driving are a bad combination. Some have stopped using their phones at all while behind the wheel.