TxDOT: Pay Attention During Distracted Driving Awareness Month


AUSTIN  — Behind the wheel, the allure of instant gratification can be deadly. Nearly 400 lives were lost last year in Texas due to distracted driving, highlighting the urgent need for vigilance on the roads.

During Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched its Talk. Text. Crash. campaign to combat this perilous trend. The initiative serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of divided attention while driving.

Stacey Riddle, who lost her daughters Brianna Robinson, 19, and Jade Robinson, 17, in a tragic crash caused by cellphone distraction, shared her heart-wrenching story. The sisters perished in 2016 during a return trip from South Padre Island, leaving Riddle's life shattered forever.

"People are constantly on their cellphones. They don’t consider that using their phones while driving can have tragic, life-changing consequences," Riddle lamented.

TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams emphasized the imperative of undivided attention behind the wheel. "When you’re behind the wheel, you need to be focused on only one thing: driving," Williams asserted. He highlighted the alarming statistics — nearly 400 fatalities and around 2,800 serious injuries attributed to distracted driving in Texas last year.

Texting while driving is not only perilous but also illegal in Texas, with fines reaching up to $200 for offenders. Despite efforts to curb distracted driving, including an 18% decrease in fatalities last year, the battle is far from won.

To drive home the message, TxDOT is deploying an interactive exhibit statewide, featuring a distracted driving simulator. Participants can experience firsthand the dangers of inattentive driving.

TxDOT urges drivers to adhere to safety guidelines:

  • Maintain full attention on the road, avoiding any distractions.
  • Keep phones out of reach or utilize settings to block calls and texts.
  • Pull over before engaging in activities that divert attention from driving.
  • Inform friends, family, and coworkers of the commitment to refrain from texting or calling while driving.

The Talk. Text. Crash. campaign is part of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader initiative aimed at promoting safer driving practices. Since November 7, 2000, Texas roadways have not experienced a day without fatalities, underscoring the urgency of collective action to prioritize safety on the roads.

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