(Coppell, TX) – As millions of Texans prepare for end of summer road trips, newly released statistics highlight the rising danger of distracted driving in some Texas counties. In particular, Dallas and Harris Counties experienced year-to-year increases in the number of people killed due to distracted driving crashes, according to 2017 statistics released by the Texas Department of Transportation.
AAA Texas encourages families to have a conversation about the dangers of distracted driving. This is especially crucial for families with young teen drivers, whose risk of being involved in a crash is already increased due to lack of experience behind the wheel.
“Just as anti-drunk driving campaigns and related efforts have been effective, our communities must come together to spread knowledge about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Linda von Quintus, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, AAA Texas. “This is why AAA Texas recently launched a new initiative, ‘Don’t Drive Intoxicated, Don’t Drive Intexticated,’ as both driving impaired or distracted can have similar consequences of injury or death.”
Recent statistics released by TxDOT show year-to-year improvements in some Texas counties from 2016 to 2017, but also show distracted driving deaths are on the rise in the Dallas and Houston areas.
|Texas Distracted Driving Crash Statistics (2017)|
|County/Area||Fatal Crashes||Fatal Crash Change from 2016|
Major counties such as Dallas, Harris and Travis experienced spikes in the number of fatal distracted driving crashes from 2016 to 2017, while other counties like Bexar experienced a decrease. However, Bexar County saw the greatest number of fatal crashes in the state, totaling 45. Bexar County also had the most total number of distracted driving crashes in the state with 24,021. However, the total crash figure in Bexar County is down from 26,313 in 2016. The statewide total number of fatal distracted driving crashes also decreased year-to-year from 417 in 2016 to 403 in 2017, according to TxDOT.
Distracted driving is not only an epidemic in Texas but across the nation, and kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is the third leading driver-related cause of crash fatalities behind speeding and driving under the influence.* These numbers likely underestimate the problem because most drivers do not admit to distracting cell phone use after a crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted numerous studies regarding distracted driving that demonstrate:
- Drivers interacting with cell phones to perform tasks like texting or surfing the Internet are two to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash.
- Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of being involved in a crash.
- 59 percent of all teen crashes involve some form of driver inattention, and 12 percent of teen crashes involve cell phone use.
AAA encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:
- Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
- Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
- Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
- Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
- Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
- Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
- Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.
Distracted driving not only comes with deadly consequences, but is also illegal in Texas. Starting September 1, 2017, drivers could face citations and fines if found guilty of texting while driving.
For more information visit AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted. For the television PSA click here, and for b-roll of the making of the PSA, click here. (Password for both: Intexticated). AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas. Find additional news from AAA Texas in our online newsroom at http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/.