HOUSTON – In the new day and age of social media and other distractions, a lot of drivers are being distracted with their mobile devices instead of focusing on the road. With the new distractions, TxDOT reports that distracted driving deaths have increased 17% in 2021 compared to 2020.
The distracted driving deaths have already claimed 431 people lives and seriously injuring another 2,934.
Once these statistics came to light, TxDOT has conducted its annual Talk. Text. Crash. campaign during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April to help urge Texans to stay focused on the roads by pulling their cellphones down.
“Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable, and we’re urging everyone to just drive whenever they’re behind the wheel,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “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.”
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 following 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.
TxDOT will host several events in Texas as part of its campaign awareness that will feature an immerse 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.
TxDOT will host an event in Houston April 23.