SAN ANGELO, Texas — Distracted driving is an ongoing issue - whether it’s texting, changing a song on the radio or opening a bottle of water - taking your eyes off the road for even one second can have serious consequences.
“We’re asking drivers to make sure they do not use those cellular devices while driving, that seems to be one of our biggest distractions inside the vehicle. Although doing anything inside the vehicle that takes your eyes off the road such as eating, putting on make-up, dealing with children or other occupants inside the vehicle is also considered distracted driving,” Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer, Tanya Brown, said.
The Texas Department of Transportation launched its statewide “Talk. Text. Crash” campaign to raise awareness among drivers to focus on the road and avoid distractions while driving.
“We’re going to ask those motorists to make sure that they are putting those devices down, making sure that they limit those distractions during driving and make sure they take care of that business either before they get on the road or once they’ve arrived at their destination,” Brown said.
According to TxDOT, in the past year nearly one in five crashes in Texas roads were caused by a distracted driver in which 431 people died and 2,934 were seriously injured.
Texas Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer, Sgt. Justin Baker, said with distracted driving there are three parts - cognitive, visual and manual.
“Our cognitive distraction is we are no longer thinking of the road anymore, we're thinking of somewhere else we want to be, something else we want to be doing,” Baker said.
He said the manual distraction is when you are not driving the vehicle with hands on the wheel like it’s supposed to be.
“The last one is the visual, where you are not looking at the roadway instead you're looking at that device or your looking at that passenger or your reaching for the controls,” Baker said.
Baker said it is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash to be doing all three.
Distracted driving is preventable, Brown suggests setting up your devices to avoid receiving notifications and avoid a distraction.
“Before you get on the road, we can set our devices to make sure that you aren't distracted by setting them to do not disturb while you're driving. If you are going to be on the road and family members are aware that they should make sure they are not contacting you via text or even phone calls,” Brown said.
Brown said if you do need to take a call, you need to pull over completely off the road and then take the call.