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Texas DOT TalkTextCrash

For National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, TxDOT launches the "TalkTextCrash" campaign to increase awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving. It also encourages Texans to put down their cell phone while driving.

Distracted driving proves to be a common, dangerous and completely avoidable. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the proportion of fatalities involving distracted driving has increased from 10 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2009. In fact, 20 percent of injury crashes nationally in 2009 involved some form of distracted driving.

In Texas, the numbers are even higher: every 1 in 4 crashes involves driver distraction as the primary reason, according to the TxDOT. In 2009 alone, over 100,000 vehicles were involved in crashes where distraction was cited. Drivers involved were found to be engaged in other activities, such as conversing on the phone, eating, smoking, fiddling with the dashboard, reaching for something, or taking care of a pet.

According to the NHTSA, at any point during the daylight hours, over 800,000 vehicles in the USA are being driven by someone using a hand-held phone.

The message, as implied by the campaign’s name is simple enough: talk, text, crash.

"Drivers simply do not realize the dangers that are posed when they take their eyes and minds off the road and their hands off the wheel and focus on activities other than driving.," said Carol T. Rawson, P.E., TxDOT's Traffic Operations Division Director. The "TalkTextCrash" campaign reminds Texans of the possible consequences associated with distracted driving. Eliminating distractions and putting away their cell phones will save their life.

The campaign launch may have coincided with Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but they plan to run it through the year. TxDOT simply asks drivers to put away their phones until they reach their destination. Although cell phone use is the big target, eliminating other in-vehicle distractions is also heavily encouraged.

The awareness campaign currently running has spots in print, the radio and on the internet. TxDOT will also be conducting a four-market tour to spread the word about distracted driving. These tours will include a driving simulator that allows users to experience the effects and possible consequences of distracted driving in a controlled environment.

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