Texas Initiative Looks to Curb Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving remains a serious problem throughout the Lone Star State.
Distracted Driving Cited in 1 of 5 Texas Crashes
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), more than 540,560 motor vehicle crashes occurred along the state’s roads and highways in 2018.
Of those, 95,572, or 18%, involved distracted driving, resulting in 394 deaths and more than 2,300 serious injuries.
In fact, over the last four years, distracted driving has contributed to one out of every five Texas motor vehicle accidents.
Distracted Driving: What is It?
Distracted driving involves activities that take a driver’s attention from the road.
Distractions may include anything from and talking or texting on a cell phone to eating and drinking, applying makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video, and even switching the radio station.
While most people are at least aware that they shouldn’t text on a handset while driving, research indicates that even using a voice-to-text program or hands-free technology can affect performance on the road.
Texas Banned Texting While Driving in 2017
The Lone Star State banned texting behind the wheel in September 2017.
While the ban appears to have reduced distracted driving crashes by about 6%, it’s clear that many drivers haven’t changed their behavior and continue to engage in other dangerous activities while operating their vehicles.
TxDOT recently launched the “Heads up, Texas” campaign to convince more drivers to give up these potentially deadly distractions.
“Our message is no longer just a public safety suggestion to urge Texans to avoid distraction while operating a vehicle – it is to remind them of the law that now forbids such activity,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “One life lost is one too many and distracted driving is completely preventable.”
Heads Up, Texas Campaign
The “Heads Up, Texas” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, an extensive word-of-mouth and social media effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices when they’re on the road.
The initiative also includes a 12-city virtual reality experience that kicked off in San Antonia on June 4th. Over the next several weeks, the exhibit will travel to Temple, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Tyler, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Houston, El Paso, Midland, and Wichita Falls.
Preventing Distracted Driving Crashes
To prevent distracted driving crashes, TxDOT is urging drivers to:
- Always give driving their full attention.
- Pull off the road entirely before talking or texting.
- Put the phone away, or turn it off, before getting behind the wheel.
- Tell friends, family and coworkers they won’t respond to calls or texts when driving.
- Use a smartphone app that sends auto-reply texts when they’re behind the wheel.
For more details about “Heads Up, Texas” event scheduling and locations in your area, call (800) 558-9368.
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