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 2016 alone, distracted driving accidents led to over 40,000 fatalities.
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 in the past 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 did pass a statewide texting-while-driving ban in 2017, records have shown that it just hasn’t made much of an impact. Unfortunately, the law is pretty narrow in scope and the penalties are relatively minor.
Texting while driving, of course, is just one type of distracted driving. In order to make an impact, we must all reevaluate our habits while driving, and strive to ensure that our full attention is on the most-important task at hand; driving safely.