Like many other US states, Texas has exhibited rapid population growth yearly. That means many people use the roads as they go about their daily routines. Unfortunately, unsafe driving habits put drivers and other motorists in danger of a fatal crash.Distracted driving is a top cause of road accidents on Texas roads. It comes in many forms and can cause serious injuries, sometimes deaths. Let’s dive deeper.

What Is Distracted Driving?

When driving, it’s vital to keep your head up to be aware of your surroundings and avert any traffic incident. But sometimes, something might turn your attention away from the road. That’s when distracted driving occurs.

Anything that takes your focus away from driving while you’re behind the wheels contributes to distracted driving. Distractions can be talking or texting on your mobile phone, watching a video, eating or drinking, reading, adjusting the radio, shaving or even touching up on your makeup.

While various things could cause distractions while driving, texting has been a common culprit. That’s why there are stringent rules against driving while texting in Texas.

The Risks of Distracted Driving

In the world today, distracted driving has increasingly become a problem for road users. Picture this — about 1 in every 5 crashes that occurred on Texas roads in 2021 resulted from a distracted driver, whereby 2,934 people sustained grave injuries and at least 431 died. No one is safe from distracted driving’s effects as every passenger and driver can get caught up in the aftermath of a crash.

Distractions affect every driver, from the seasoned to the amateurs. Even the best drivers can fall victim to a distraction and cause an accident in a split second. That’s why your expertise as a driver doesn’t matter here, meaning you can’t afford to ignore this issue.

One small destruction can turn an otherwise smooth ride into a catastrophe, a joyous drive into a painful experience. Remember that distracted driving will affect the lives of every passenger in the vehicle. That means family members and friends present with you during the drive could suffer the consequences of an accident if you get caught in a distraction while driving.

Texas Driving Laws

In Texas, it’s illegal to write, send or even read a text message while driving. Anyone found violating this law may face up to a $200 fine. While some cities ban texting while driving, others prohibit using cell phones for whatever reason while driving.

Cell phone laws in Texas are pretty strict in preventing distracted driving. Here’s an overview of what you should keep in mind:

  • It’s illegal to send or read electronic messages if behind the wheel on Texas roads unless the motor vehicle isn’t running.
  • Using handheld devices in your vehicle while within a school’s vicinity is illegal.
  • Any driver with a learner’s permit shouldn’t use their cell phone within the first six months of driving.
  • The law prohibits all school bus drivers from using cell phones while driving if children are present.
  • Underage drivers (those below 18 years) shouldn’t use handheld devices.
  • Cell phone laws vary across cities. Therefore, the savvy driver will check local texting while driving regulations to be safe.

While the above cell phone regulations will shield you from committing a driving offense, why not keep off your cell phone altogether? Avoiding cell phone use using tactics like turning them off will ensure you avoid a possible distraction.

What if You Have an Urgent Need to Use Your Cell Phone?

Research shows all cell phones, including hands-free and handled devices as well as those with voice-to-text programs, can distract you while driving. Therefore, you know your phone is among the top distractions while driving. While you may try your level best to avoid sending or receiving electronic messages, something urgent may come up.

Regardless of the urgency, texting while driving may land you in trouble with the law. You could get a traffic ticket in the best scenario or crash your motor vehicle at worst. To avoid that eventuality:

  • Pull off the road and come to a complete stop before you text or talk.
  • Better still, inform your friends, family or coworkers that you’ll be unavailable to respond to any calls or texts while driving.
  • Turn your phone off or use an application to block calls and texts.
  • Initiate an auto-reply text message to relay your unavailability to those at the other end of the receiver.
  • Always remember that any distraction can be costly, so drive while fully attentive.

The Distracted Driving Campaign

The Talk Text Crash, or distracted driving campaign, was born to encourage drivers to avoid distractions and keep their heads and minds on the road. Its message is clear: talking or texting while driving will ultimately cause a crash. Besides educating Texans on the risks of distracted driving and discouraging all distractions while driving, the campaign raises awareness of the state’s distracted driving laws.

This public awareness campaign has only one goal: to minimize road crashes and help save lives. Its efforts are far-reaching on online and offline platforms, including social media, influencer marketing and community education through word of mouth.

Road Safety Tips While Driving in Texas

Talk Text Crash is part of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader campaign that seeks to end the daily streak of deaths on Texas roads. It encourages Texans to make better, safer choices while driving. From buckling up, stopping at a red light and driving within the speed limit to never texting while driving and avoiding drinking and getting behind the wheel, it’s the simple things you do that go a long way in keeping you safe on the road and ending the streak of deaths.

The last deathless day recorded on Texas roads was November 7, 2000. EndTheStreakTX seeks to rewrite history and end daily deaths on Texas roadways — it all starts with drivers committing to avoiding distractions, making better choices and driving safely.

Take an Online Defense Driving Course Today!

Now that you know what distracted driving is, the next best thing is to take an active approach to become a safe driver. DriveSafe Online can help you learn state laws, safety practices while on the road, essential driving techniques and how to foresee and steer clear of road dangers. Take the Texas online defense driver training course and be one step closer to becoming a safe driver — without stepping into a classroom.