AUSTIN – An estimated 1 in 5 traffic crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving, and the problem is getting worse. As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching its “Talk, Text, Crash” campaign to remind drivers to stay focused on the road.
“People are dying on Texas roadways because drivers are diverting their attention from the road to talk on a phone, send a text, post to social media or engage in some other distracting behavior,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “When drivers take their focus off the road, they put themselves, their passengers and others at risk. It’s just not worth it.”
Last year, there were 108,962 distracted driving crashes in Texas – up 3 percent over 2015. Those crashes killed 452 people and seriously injured another 3,068. These crashes are highest among younger drivers ages 16 to 34.
In Texas, 38 percent of drivers say they regularly or sometimes use a cell phone while driving. Text messaging is particularly dangerous as reaction times double when drivers read or send text messages. A driver texting at 55 mph will lose sight of the road for nearly five seconds, which is comparable to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
While mobile phone use is the most recognizable driving distraction, other high-risk activities that can take your eyes or mind off the road include adjusting a music player, grooming, eating or programming a navigation system.
The “Talk, Text, Crash” campaign reminds drivers to:
• Put away the phone – or turn it off – before getting behind the wheel.
• Pull over to a safe location if you must talk or text.
• Use an app that will block texts and calls while driving.
• Tell friends, family and colleagues you won’t respond to calls or texts when driving.
Always give driving your full attention.