TxDOT launches campaign in hopes to curb deadly texting and driving trend

SPECIAL TO THE BULLETIN

As the numbers of those dying on Texas roads due to distracted driving increasing at an alarming rate, the Texas Department of Transportation is attempting to take a stand by kicking off an annual event aimed curbed at keeping eyes on the road and not on the phone.

The "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign made way at the beginning of April and urges drivers to give their full attention to the road. TxDOT's campaign also is running hand-in-hand with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.

"Nearly 1 in 5 traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver," said TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton in a press release. "Last Year 468 people were killed because someone took their attention off the road. How important is a fleeting distraction when it could end in the death of someone, perhaps eve one of your loved ones?"

According to TxDOT, those between the ages of 16-24-years-old are the most effected age group when it comes to distracted driving related accidents.

In 2014, statistics show that there were more than 100,000 crashes in Texas where distracted driving was the culprit, an increase of 6 percent from 2013.

Texting has played a major role in that, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who reported that drivers using a mobile phone are four times more likely to cause serious injury in an accident.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute also reported evidence that texting while behind the wheel was dangerous after a test showed that it takes a driver double the amount of time to react when they're occupied with text messaging. Whether it was sending or receiving a text, it showed that a driver's eyes left the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which at 55 mph, that's the equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.

While texting and using the phone is a big concern, TxDOT also urges drivers to avoid doing other things while driving which could result in an accident, including:

Checking email

  • Eating and drinking
  • Grooming
  • Reading
  • Programming a navigation system
  • Adjusting music or other audio device

TxDOT also says that if a possible distraction requires immediate attention to pull over to a safe location and come to a complete stop before dealing with the situation.