TYLER, Texas (KETK) – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and TxDOT is reminding Texans of the dangers of distracted driving.
Last year, nearly 1 in 5 crashes on Texas roadways were caused by a distracted driver. These crashes left 364 people dead and 2,200 seriously injured.
“A serious or fatal crash can happen in an instant,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “If you’re distracted by your phone, or doing anything else that takes your focus away from driving, you’re putting yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk. Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. Driving should be your number one priority behind the wheel – everything else can wait.”
TxDOT relaunched its web-based game called “Dart Those Distractions” to reinforce the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.
The game is designed to be played on a phone or tablet, and TxDOT reiterates that it is not to be played while driving.
This is all part of the #EndTheStreakTX, which is a broader effort to encourage drivers to take measures such as wearing seat belts, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence.
The last deathless day on Texas roadways was over two decades ago on Nov. 7, 2000.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Distractions can include any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from safely driving the vehicle. A common way a driver can be distracted is through phone usage.
It has been illegal to read, write or send a text while driving in Texas since 2017. Violators can face a fine up to $200. Specific cell phone laws can vary from city to city.
According to TxDOT, research shows that regardless of whether a driver uses a voice-to-text program, hands-free device or handheld, the distraction will affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.
HOW TO AVOID A TICKET, CRASH OR WORSE
TxDOT offers these tips to prevent distracted driving that can lead to a ticket, or worse, a crash:
- Always give driving your full attention.
- Pull off the road entirely and come to a complete stop before you talk 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 co-workers you won’t respond to texts or calls while driving.
- Remember that all distractions are dangerous, so pay full attention when behind the wheel.
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