SHREVEPORT, La - With a new school year upon us, the Texas Department of Transportation is out with two highway safety campaigns. One is “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” motorcycle safety and public awareness campaign and the other is the annual "Heads Up, Texas" campaign to raise awareness about distracted driving.
Why should drivers be aware of motorcyclists when traveling Texas roads?
On average, one motorcyclist dies in a crash on Texas roads every day. In 2019, 412 riders lost their lives and 1,812 were seriously injured in crashes. More than half of fatal motorcycle crashes result from collisions with other vehicles. Drivers simply don’t see the motorcycle or misjudge its distance and speed. The small size of motorcycles can make them appear farther away when they're actually closer. The combination of congested roadways, distracted driving and the difficulty of seeing motorcycles in traffic has led to many preventable fatalities each year.
What are some tips for safely sharing the road with motorcycles?
- Look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections.
- Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be, and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Use your turn signals and check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely.
- Give motorcyclists a full lane.
- Obey posted speed limits.
Talk. Text. Crash. Campaign
Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Texas and takes many forms. At a time when one in five crashes on Texas roads are caused by distracted driving, TxDOT’’s annual Talk, Text, Crash campaign is a crucial call-to-action encouraging drivers to keep their heads up and pay attention when behind the wheel.
All distractions – whether texting, eating, grooming or having a conversation – can be dangerous. Every driver and every passenger, regardless of age, can be impacted by distracted driving.
TxDOT is bolstering its commitment to traffic safety education with the introduction of a new web-based augmented reality (AR) game – “Dart Those Distractions.” The AR game will increase awareness about distracted driving in an interactive, engaging way and aims to help Texans develop positive driving habits. It’s a new take on the classic carnival game where balloons symbolize driving distractions and the player must pop all the balloons before being able to drive, serving as a reminder to always put away any distractions before hitting the road. The AR game can be played on any smartphone or tablet by visiting www.dartthosedistractions.com, or players can visit the website on a desktop computer to access the game through a QR code.
In 2019, the total number of crashes on Texas Roads were 561,582. Of those, 97,853 or 17.4%, involved distracted driving (driver distraction, inattention or cell phone use). The 97,853 distracted driving crashes in Texas resulted in 378 deaths and 2,500 serious injuries.
Effective Sept. 1, 2017, state law prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending electronic messages on mobile phones while driving.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distractions can include anything from texting and talking on a mobile phone to eating and drinking, putting on makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video and even adjusting the radio.
What if I need to text or call someone immediately?
Research shows that regardless of whether you use a voice-to-text program, hands-free device or a handheld one, the distraction will affect your driving.
- Always give driving your full attention
- Pull off the road entirely and come to a stop before you talk or text
- Put your phone away, or turn it off, before getting behind the wheel
- Tell friends, family and coworkers you won’t respond to calls or texts when you are behind the wheel
- Use a smartphone app that sends auto-reply texts when you are behind the wheel
- Spread the word. Tell your friends and family about the dangers of distracted driving
Heads Up, Texas Campaign
TxDOT’s “Heads up, Texas” statewide public awareness campaign educates Texans on the dangers and risks of driving distracted while also raising awareness of statewide laws. The campaign addresses and discourages all forms of distracted driving when behind the wheel, with the overall goal of saving lives and reducing crashes.