April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Southlake Police Department is reminding everyone, teens and adult drivers alike, to put their phones down while driving.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), distracted driving causes more than 100,000 traffic accidents each year in Texas. In 2015, 38% of Texas drivers admitted to talking on their cell phone while driving at least some of the time, according to a survey conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The study also found that more than one-fifth (21%) of drivers said they read or sent text messages or emails when behind the wheel.
While using a cell phone when driving is the most common offense, there are many ways in which a driver can be distracted. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving including:
Teenaged drivers are most at risk. Drivers under the age of twenty make up 27% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes across the country. One quarter of teens say they have responded to text messages one or more times while driving.
Police Chief James Brandon says, “Sending or receiving texts takes your eyes off the road for approximately 4.6 seconds. That’s the equivalent of driving blind at 55 miles per hour for the entire length of a football field.”
“If it has been awhile since you’ve talked to your teens about distracted driving, now would be a good time to sit down with them again and remind them of the dangers of distracted driving. We want everyone to arrive at his or her destination safely”, adds Chief Brandon.
Drive now – talk later. The message is simple and it can save lives.