TxDOT launches campaign to raise distracted driving awareness

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and The Texas Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to remind everyone to stay focused behind the wheel.

The 'Talk. Text. Crash.' campaign features an interactive exhibit with a distracted driving simulator that allows participants to experience the dangers of inattentive driving firsthand.

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The distracted driving awareness campaign is a key component of '#EndTheStreakTX', a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths.

In March 2016, 19-year-old Brianna Robinson and 17-year-old Jade Robinson were traveling home from a spring break trip to South Padre Island and were killed when their driver checked her phone and crashed head-on into an 18-wheeler.

“I keep waiting for Brianna and Jade to walk through the front door, but I know they never will again,” said their mother, Stacey Riddle. “People are constantly on their cellphones. They don’t consider that using their phones while driving can have tragic, life-changing consequences.”

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Nearly 400 people lost their lives last year in violent and preventable crashes due to distracted driving in Texas and nearly 2,800 others suffered serious injuries.

“Any loss of life is tragic but imagine killing or seriously injuring someone else because you thought you could text and drive at the same time,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “When you’re behind the wheel, you need to be focused on only one thing: driving. Looking at your phone, eating or adjusting your music can wait until you’re safely parked.”

Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways, according to TxDOT.

Texting and driving is also a crime. If someone is caught reading, writing or texting while driving in Texas, they could face up to a $200 fine.

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