The story goes that a teenage girl was driving her friends down a Texas highway when she briefly checked her phone. She did not survive the collision with an 18-wheeler she did not see coming. Thankfully, her friends did survive, and they are now warning other teens about how dangerous it is to use their phones while driving.
The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, reported the story and a surprising fact. Drivers may think they only look down for one quick second, so what could be the harm in that? The Monitor comes back with the reality that when drivers are texting, their eyes leave the road “for an average of five seconds,” and a lot can happen in five seconds. “That’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.”
The Texas Department of Transportation adds to the conversation with alarming statistics. Its research shows one out of five accidents in Texas happen because of distracted drivers, and in 2016, authorities blamed distracted driving for more than 100,000 crashes. In those accidents, 455 people lost their lives and more than 3,000 suffered injuries. These statistics show diversions create a serious threat to safety on Texas highways.
The TxDOT’s response continues to be an annual Talk, Text, Crash campaign that kicks off in the spring. Its purpose is “raising awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving and encouraging Texans to put away their cell phones while driving.”
While the focus centers on cell phones, other distractions, such as eating, reading or using a GPS also pose problems for drivers. TxDOT encourages full attention to driving when behind the wheel.