The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is raising awareness during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in order to reduce the number of drivers who text behind the wheel.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Texas Department of Transportation is continuing to educate Texans on distracted driving through its TALK. TEXT. CRASH. campaign.
The campaign’s purpose is to remind drivers to put down electronic devices, particularly cellphones, while operating their vehicles. Although the goal is to inform all drivers universally, the department focuses on college-aged individuals, who are more-likely to use their phones while driving.
Each year in Texas, more than 100,000 automobile accidents are linked to distracted driving; that’s one out of every five accidents! In 2015 alone, distracted driving accidents led to 463 deaths and at least 3,000 injuries in the Lone Star State.
In fact, a survey conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute revealed that 38% of Texans admitted to talking on the phone while driving at least once last year. Additionally, more than 21% of drivers stated that they either read or sent text messages or emails while behind the wheel – and these are just the people who admitted to it.
What is distracted driving?
Any activity that removes your attention from the roadway is a distraction. This behavior places not only you and your passengers in danger of experiencing an accident, but also those who share the road with you.
Although the most common type of distracted driving is mobile phone usage, TxDOT reports that any of the following can cause a driver to become distracted:
- Speaking on the phone, texting, checking emails.
- Checking social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram).
- Watching videos or even adjusting the radio.
Isn’t texting while driving illegal?
While Texas has tried to pass a state-wide texting-while-driving ban twice before, there is currently no law on the books (Texas is only 1 of 4 states who have yet to pass such a ban). Lawmakers have already announced that they will try again during the next legislative session.
Frustrated with our state’s lack of progress on the issue, many cities have passed ordinances within their city limits which do make the practice illegal. In fact, over 60 cities in Texas have laws against texting & driving, including many north Texas cities such as Arlington, Grand Prairie, Denton, Little Elm, Farmers Branch, Rowlett, Bedford, Watauga, and Argyle.