Texas Department of Transportation safety officials are increasing their media blitz techniques in an effort to squelch rising distracted driving rates in the area. The campaign, which promotes the phrase “Talk, Text, Crash,” is presented annually by TxDOT representatives. These safety officials say they are concerned about driver recklessnessthroughout the state; crashes related to distracted driving have increased by 4 percent in recent years. That means that 459 people died because of distracted drivers.

TxDOT representatives are targeting distracted drivers in the upcoming weeks because April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Although distracted driving is generally linked to cellphone use, it is important to remember that drivers can also be affected by talking to passengers, changing the radio station and even disciplining children. Dallas County has taken a particular interest in educating its citizens, partnering with AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign. More than 5,300 crashes were caused by distracted driving in Dallas County alone in 2013.

Other Texas cities, including Austin, have approved ordinances that make texting and driving illegal. Dallas, however, is one of the metro areas in the state that have not passed such restrictions on distracted drivers. However, younger drivers are prohibited from using cellphones, as are school bus drivers when children are in their vehicle. No driver may use a cellphone in a school zone in the city.

Drivers are encouraged to stop their vehicle before using electronic devices. Authorities also recommend explaining that you will not answer phone calls so that family and friends know not to contact you behind the wheel. You can even use apps that will disable your phone while you are in the car.

Victims who have been injured by a distracted driver car accident may be eligible for financial compensation after their wreck. These individuals may receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and a variety of other civil claims. A Texas attorney may provide additional information about victims’ legal rights and options.

Source:  The Dallas Morning News, “Rise in distracted-driving crashes prompts TxDOT to amp up safety campaign ” Brittney Martin, Apr. 06, 2014