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TxDOT Launches Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

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A woman talks on a cell phone as she drives. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

A woman talks on a cell phone as she drives. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In 2009 alone, distracted drivers caused more than 100,000 Texas crashes. To help combat the problem, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is launching the “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign.

“Talk. Text. Crash.” is meant to raise awareness about the dangers associated with distracted driving and to encourage Texans not to use their cell phones while driving.

“In 2009 we actually had 408 fatalities in Texas due to distracted driving. So, we have been seeing the numbers go up,” explained TxDOT’s Tracie Mendez.

Mendez says talking and texting on cell phones is the most common distraction, but as technology advances people have all kinds of new gadgets that are vying for their attention.

According to TxDOT, in 2009 more than 3,300 Texas crashes were attributed to cell phone.

Mendez thinks part of the problem is overconfidence. “I think a lot of times, as adults, we tend to think ‘We’ll I’ve been driving for 20+ years, or 30 years, so I’m a pretty good driver’. They get pretty comfortable behind the wheel,” she said.

Mendez knows firsthand that cell phones, GPS technology, fiddling with radios, eating and shaving aren’t the only things that contribute to accidents. On her way to work Thursday morning, “I was actually rear-ended by somebody that was putting on makeup,” she said frustrated. “It was stop and go traffic. I took off and she took off and I stopped an she didn’t, because her eyes were not on the road.”

TxDOT officials are urging drivers to focus their attention on the road and wait until arriving at a destination to conduct non-driving activities.

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