The Texas Department of Transportation this week launched its “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Throughout this month, TxDOT will reach out to Texans through community events, TV public service announcements, and online and outdoor advertising. 

TxDOT is also partnering with AT&T on this year’s campaign against distracted driving.

“In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving. It’s time we worked together to change behaviors, attitudes, hearts and minds,” said Dave Nichols, president of AT&T Texas. “We can each commit not to text and drive. We can lead by example. That’s why we’re pleased to join the Texas Department of Transportation in its Text.Talk.Crash. effort and why we continue to raise awareness through our AT&T's own It Can Wait campaign.”

As part of the campaign, TxDOT is asking Texans to make a simple commitment to focus on driving when they get behind the wheel. 

“Distracted driving is unacceptable, and it’s something that is preventable,” said John Barton, TxDOT’s deputy executive director. “If you reply to or send a text while driving, you are putting your life or someone else’s life at risk.”

Barton added: “Use of cell phones while driving isn’t the only action that can lead to serious injury or death. Other actions, such as reading the newspaper, eating or smoking while driving, are also distractions. Keeping drivers safe is our priority.”

According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, almost half of all Texas drivers in 2012 admitted to regularly or sometimes talking on the cell phone while driving. However, 84.9% of Texas drivers think driving while talking on a cell phone is a very serious or somewhat serious threat to their personal safety.

In another just-completed study, TTI researchers found that 10% of Texas drivers are using their cell phone at any point in time during the day. The finding represents the first time that actual cell phone use by Texas drivers has been measured (rather than self-reported). Results were based on observations of drivers at 190 intersections in 22 counties across the state.