AUSTIN, Texas - TxDOT is urging drivers to pay attention to the road after there was an increase in traffic deaths involving distracted driving.
According to TxDOT, distracted driving deaths increased 17% in 2021 compared to 2020, claiming the lives of 431 people and seriously injuring another 2,934.
Due to this increase, 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.
"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."
Distracted driving is not only dangerous, it’s now 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 provided 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 is conducting "Talk. Text. Crash." events around Texas that feature an immersive TV wall with a touch-free driving simulator to give participants a real-life sense of how distractions affect driving.
Here is the 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.