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Texas Study Finds Distracted Driving Crashes Highest Among Young Drivers

Eileen Pace

The Texas Department of Transportation has kicked off its annual campaign to educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

TxDOT’s Laura Lopez said that one in five traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver, and the numbers have been increasing. “In 2014 there were just a little over 100,000 crashes in Texas involving distracted driving, and that’s about six percent more than the previous year,” Lopez said.

Lopez said 45 percent of Texas drivers admitted to using a mobile phone while driving, according to a 2014 study by the Texas Transportation Institute. That study found that drivers using a mobile phone are four times more likely to cause serious injury in a crash.

However, Lopez added that a phone was not the only danger. “Even though you’re not allowed to be on the phone or text or anything like that in many cities, there are other distractions that can cause crashes. That includes putting on make-up, eating, talking to the passengers in your vehicle, or programming a navigation system,” she said.

What is, perhaps, most disturbing, is that distracted driving accidents are highest among 16- to 24-year-old drivers. The “Talk, Text, Crash” program coincides with the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. 

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.