AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - As distracted driving crashes increase state-wide, TxDOT officials are working to educate Texans on safety behind the wheel.
TxDOT officials say it only takes a split second to take your eyes off the road and change someone's life forever. They are now taking action with their 'Talk, Text, Crash" campaign. In 2016, Amarillo Police recorded 351 accidents involving distracted driving factors as well as 703 citations and 534 warnings due to someone being on a cellphone. Sergeant Brent Barbee said he believes the internet has influenced young drivers and it's harder to influence those who grow up attached to their phones.
"Teenagers get their ideas of how to act and what they should do from their peers, and now they have access to a lot more of their peers through social media," said Barbee.
While cellphones may be an obvious distraction, TxDOT officials said there's other activities to beware of when you put the car in drive such as changing your radio stations, eating food and even putting on makeup. TxDOT Public Information Officer Sonja Gross said when it comes to preventing distracted driving accidents, education is key.
"You can always tell when someone is on a cell phone because they are weaving in and out of lanes, their speed is increasing or decreasing and they're doing everything they need to be doing except driving," said Gross.
The "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign reminds drivers to:
- Put away your phone or turn it off before getting behind the wheel.
- Use an app that blocks texts and calls while driving.
- Pull over to a safe location if you must talk and text.
- Tell your family and friends you won't respond to texts or calls while driving.
-Always give driving your full attention.