TxDOT reports 17% increase in distracted driving deaths

TxDOT’s Talk.Text.Crash. campaign brings awareness and urgency to reduce distracted driving
((Source: TxDOT))
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 1:32 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -Distracted driving deaths increased 17% in 2021 compared to 2020, claiming the lives of 431 people and seriously injuring another 2,934.

In light of these statistics, TxDOT is conducting its annual Talk. Text. Crash. campaign during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April to urge Texans to keep their heads up, put their phones down and just drive.

Marc Williams, TxDOT Executive Director, says that taking your focus off driving can put others at risk.

“Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable, and we’re urging everyone to just drive whenever they’re behind the wheel,” Williams said. “Texans are killed each year simply because someone was distracted by their phone, radio, navigation system, eating or drinking, or even by others in the car. When your focus isn’t on driving, you’re putting yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk.”

Distracted driving is not only dangerous, it’s a crime. Since Sept. 1, 2017, it has been illegal to read, write or send a text while driving in Texas, and violators can face a fine of up to $200.

TxDOT offers these tips to prevent distracted driving that can lead to a ticket or preventable crash:

  • Always give driving your full attention; remember that any distraction is dangerous.
  • Pull off the road entirely and come to a complete stop before you talk on your phone or text.
  • Put your phone away, turn it off, or use an app or your phone settings to block texts and calls while driving.
  • Tell friends, family and coworkers you won’t respond to texts or calls while driving.

As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, TxDOT is conducting Talk. Text. Crash. outreach events around the state that feature an immersive TV wall with a touch-free driving simulator to give participants a real-life sense of how distractions affect driving. There will also be tips and facts that’ll help remind everyone to give driving their full attention.

Event schedule:

April 16 – San Antonio

April 18 – Austin

April 21 – El Paso

April 23 – Houston

April 24 – Arlington

April 30 – McAllen

TxDOT is also relaunching its web-based augmented reality game “Dart Those Distractions” to reinforce the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.

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