April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and “Talk, Text, Crash” is a slogan used to get people’s attention about the dangers of operating a vehicle while using an electronic device. There are many forms of distraction in a vehicle including: eating, smoking, talking to a passenger, changing the radio station, or reaching for an item in the vehicle. Most people associate distracted driving with operating a cell phone and rightly so. Statistics support the fact that the use of cell phones while driving is injuring and killing people. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended a total cell phone ban in all US states in December of last year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA):
Drivers who use handheld devices are 4 times more likely to be in a crash with injuries
Drivers who TEXT and drive are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash
Using a cell phone and driving delays your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 (BAC)
Even using a hands free device while driving can use up to 39% of your brain power that should be used for safe driving
Last year in Texas, 81,103 crashes involved distracted driving, driver inattention, or cell phone use. 361 of these were FATAL crashes
Who is most at risk when it comes to cell phones and driving? Ages 16-34 are at the greatest risk, but all of us are prone to the convenience of the cell phone or smart phone while in a vehicle. It is the goal of your local law enforcement agencies to educate the public of the dangers of talking or texting while driving. In Texas, you cannot operate a cellar device while driving in a school zone. Also, if you are a new teen driver, you cannot talk or text on a cell phone for the first year of driving. Currently, 34 states in the US ban texting and 10 states ban handheld cell phone devices all together.
Take the time to put your cell phone down while operating a motor vehicle, educate others, and set the example. Causing the injury or death to a person or yourself is not worth a status update, a text or an email on your phone…Talk, Text, Crash.
The safety of our community does not have borders. It is the goal of every law enforcement agency to protect the citizens that we serve. Be the eyes and ears of your police department. When you see suspicious activity contact the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600, the Texas A&M University Police Department at 979-845-2345, or the Bryan Police Department and the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office at 979-361-3888. Together we can make a difference in our community.