The Transportation Department is taking a stand against distracted driving and other safety hazards by setting the goal of no traffic deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 2046. They reported that fatal motor vehicle accidents rose by 7.2 percent in 2015.

Motor vehicle deaths rise

The Obama administration laid out plans for the 30-year effort this past Wednesday, saying the government would focus on tactics like increasing the usage of seatbelts, more rumble strips to wake up drowsy drivers and finally campaigns against distracted and drunk driving.

The introduction of driverless car technology has the department looking to the future and thinking about how autonomous vehicles can reduce or even eliminate accidents that could cause injury or death. According to the Department, motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error 94% of the time – if you eliminate human error, the vehicles have the potential to stop traffic deaths altogether.

Road deaths did rise last year, and according to a study in August by the National Safety Council, deaths in the first half of 2016 increased by 9 percent as compared to the first half of 2015. These statistics helped prompt the Transportation Department to set the 30-year goal.

What can you do to prevent accidents?

It’s important to recognize the government’s focus on curbing distracted driving. In Texas, there are over 100,000 accidents each year due to distracted driving. A study done in 2015 found that 38 percent of Texans admitted that they talk on their mobile phone while driving, and 21.2 percent of drivers own up to reading or sending texts or emails while driving.

And although people know that distracted driving can be deadly, too many admit that they still call or text while driving. But there are other activities that the Texas Department of Transportation deem as high-risk behaviors while driving:

  • Checking or posting on social media
  • Checking and writing email
  • Eating
  • Grooming, like hair or makeup
  • Using a GPS or other navigation system
  • Watching video
  • Adjusting audio like radio or CD player

To end distracted driving for good, TxDOT recommends education for every Texas driver to really hit home the dangers distracted driving poses. Their tips include:

  • Keeping your phone out of reach
  • Waiting on notifications or turning them off before you hit the road
  • Pulling over if you must text, talk or email
  • Taking care of any audio or GPS needs before you begin driving

The more people know the serious consequences of distracted driving, the better. Keeping friends and family in check if you’re a passenger is also a great way to curb distracted driving, and making sure you and your friends know the steps you can take to avoid distractions may help save a life.