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Distracted Driving is Deadly Driving 

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Distracted Driving is Deadly Driving 

LUFKIN – You know that feeling of boredom behind the wheel. So bored that you just can’t help but pick up your phone. You look down at it or read a text, right up to the moment your car is airborne at 70 miles per hour. 

During Distracted Driving Awareness Month TxDOT is reminding everyone to stay focused behind the wheel with the Talk. Text. Crash. safety campaign. During April each year, TxDOT reminds drivers to put their phones down. The good news – you are listening. TxDOT statistics showed an 18 percent reduction in the number of fatalities last year. But we don’t think it’s enough. 

In 2023, there were 94,330 traffic crashes involving distracted driving statewide, resulting in 399 fatalities and 2,793 serious injuries. In 2022, there were 95,830 crashes involving distracted driving statewide, resulting in 487 fatalities and 2,822 serious injuries.

In the nine-county Lufkin District, there were 549 crashes involving distracted driving. Those crashes resulted in six deaths and 47 serious injuries.

Looking at a text or watching a video is not important. You remaining safe in a vehicle is very important to your family and friends, and helping you stay safe on the roadways is important to TxDOT.

“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 focus 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. Many cities have outlawed any use of a handheld device while driving. 

TxDOT urges drivers to put their phones away and remember these tips to stay safe:

  • Give driving your full attention — any distraction is dangerous, whether it’s your phone or anything that takes your eyes or your mind off the road.
  • Put down the phone — 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. 
  • Make sure you tell your 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 safe choices behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.

For more information, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395.

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.

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Rhonda Oaks is the Public Information Officer for the nine-county Lufkin District of the Texas Department of Transportation. A Lufkin native, she is a graduate of Hudson High School and Angelina College. She has a background in print journalism and worked for many years as a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer. She has received eight Associated Press awards. Her articles have been published in many publications over the past 25 years.