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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Distracted Driving is Deadly Driving

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You know that feeling of being bored behind the wheel? So bored that you just can’t help but check your phone? Yeah, that feeling. Instant gratification is only inches away, right up to the moment your car is airborne at 70 mph. Image courtesy of TxDOT
You know that feeling of being bored behind the wheel? So bored that you just can’t help but check your phone? Yeah, that feeling. Instant gratification is only inches away, right up to the moment your car is airborne at 70 mph. Image courtesy of TxDOT
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AUSTIN – You know that feeling of being bored behind the wheel? So bored that you just can’t help but check your phone? Yeah, that feeling. Instant gratification is only inches away, right up to the moment your car is airborne at 70 mph. 

Nearly 400 people lost their lives last year in violent and preventable crashes, because of distracted driving in Texas. That text is not important. That video is not important. But you are that important to your friends and family. Being bored behind the wheel is better than being dead or hurting others, isn’t it? 

In March 2016, a driver checking her cellphone crashed head-on into an 18-wheeler, killing her passengers. Those passengers were Stacey Riddle’s daughters,19-year-old Brianna Robinson and 17-year-old Jade Robinson. The two died while traveling home from a spring break trip to South Padre Island. And in that instant, Riddle’s life was never the same. 

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“I keep waiting for Brianna and Jade to walk through the front door, but I know they never will again,” Riddle said. “People are constantly on their cellphones. They don’t consider that using their phones while driving can have tragic, life-changing consequences.”

During Distracted Driving Awareness Month TxDOT is reminding everyone to stay focused behind the wheel with the Talk. Text. Crash. campaign. Every year we send out these messages during April to remind people to put their phones down. While we did see an 18% drop in fatalities last year, it’s not enough. Nearly 400 people lost their lives last year because of distracted driving in Texas and nearly 2,800 others suffered serious injuries.

“Any loss of life is tragic but imagine killing or seriously injuring someone else because you thought you could text and drive at the same time,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “When you’re behind the wheel, you need to be focused on only one thing: driving. Looking at your phone, eating or adjusting your music can wait until you’re safely parked.”

It’s important to remember that texting while driving is also a crime. If someone is caught reading, writing or sending a text while driving in Texas, they can face a fine of up to $200 and many cities outlaw any use of a handheld device while driving. 

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The Talk. Text. Crash. campaign will travel around the state with an interactive exhibit featuring a distracted driving simulator that allows participants to experience the dangers of inattentive driving firsthand.  

TxDOT urges drivers to put their phones away and remember these tips to keep our roads safe:
Full attention — ANY distraction is dangerous, whether it’s your phone or anything else that takes your eyes or your mind off the road.
Phones down — turn it off or use your phone’s settings to block texts and calls while driving.
Pull over — come to a complete stop before you use your phone, eat or do anything that interferes with driving. 
Tell them —friends, family and coworkers that you won’t respond to texts or calls while driving.

TxDOT’s Talk. Text. Crash. distracted driving awareness campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. 

The information presented represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). It was received and processed by the department as of February 6, 2024.

STATISTICS:

The number of motor vehicle traffic crashes in the Pharr district in 2023 that involved distracted driving (distraction, driver inattention or cell-phone use) totaled 2,340. These crashes resulted in 6 deaths and 46serious injuries.

o   From 2022-2023, traffic crashes in the Pharr district involving distracted drivers decreased 4 percent while fatalities resulting from traffic crashes involving distracted driving no percent change and serious injuries decreased 22 percent.

*** Counties in the Pharr district: Brooks, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Kennedy, Starr, Willacy, Zapata

By Age Group:
Of the 102,836 drivers in Texas in 2023 who were involved in crashes where distracted driving was a factor:
435were under age 16 (TxDOT)
25,814 were aged 16-24 (TxDOT)
22,113 were aged 25-34 (TxDOT)
16,208 were aged 35-44 (TxDOT)
11,031 were aged 45-54 (TxDOT)
8,756 were aged 55-64 (TxDOT)
5,628 were aged 65-74 (TxDOT)
3,360 were aged 75 or over (TxDOT)
9,491 had an unknown age (TxDOT)
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