The Texas Department of Transportation has announced their latest plan to end distracted driving across Texas will begin with their “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign.
According to a press release from TxDOT, there were 90,378 crashes in 2012 that were the result of distracted drivers, an increase of 8 percent from 2011. Of those crashes, there was a 9 percent increase in deaths from 2011.
“Distracted driving is unacceptable, and it’s something that is preventable,” said John Barton, TxDOT’s deputy executive director in the press release. “If you reply to or send a text while driving, you are putting your life or someone else’s life at risk.”
The campaign was launched in April specifically to occur simultaneously with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. TxDOT is planning to gain the attention of the public through community events, TV public service announcements, advertising both online and outdoors, and through a partnership with AT&T.
“In today’s tech-connected age, people are relying on text messages and smartphones to stay in touch, but texting while driving is something that carries profound, very real risks,” Dave Nichols, president, AT&T Texas said. “. . . It’s time we worked together to change behaviors, attitudes, hearts and minds. We can each commit not to text and drive. We can lead by example. That’s why we’re pleased to join the Texas Department of Transportation in its Text.Talk.Crash. effort and why we continue to raise awareness through our AT&T’s own It Can Wait campaign.”
Mark Cross, a media contact from TxDOT, said the main reason they are promoting the campaign is to try to make drivers aware of how dangerous distracted driving can be.
“We are trying to reach all motorists to convey that any distracted driving, but especially with an electronic device, is dangerous to them and other motorists,” Cross said. “We would advise them to pull over any time they need to look away from the road for something. Paying attention to the road will reduce risk and save lives.”
Barton also urged in the press release for people to commit to drive without distractions, whether it be the phone, the radio or other diversions.
“Use of cell phones while driving isn’t the only action that can lead to serious injury or death,” Barton said. “Other actions, such as reading the newspaper, eating or smoking while driving are also distractions. Keeping drivers safe is our priority.”
According to TxDot’s website, typing a text message takes 4.6 seconds, which means the driver is not looking at the road for the length of a football field.