TxDOT's Talk.Text.Crash campaign returns to raise distracted driving awareness in April

April is 'National Distracted Driving Awareness' month, and TxDOT is reminding drivers to stay focused behind the wheel with the return of its Talk.Text.Crash campaign. It includes the tragic story of a Houston mother whose daughters died in a distracted-driving crash.

The encouraging news is that the incidence of distracted driving deaths is trending down in Texas, but it still took nearly 400 lives last year, and seriously injured thousands. All it takes is a moment to happen.

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Stacey Riddle's two teenaged daughters were killed in 2016 when the driver of their car checked a cell phone, lost control, and plowed head-on into an 18 wheeler. 

"Our family has suffered pain that no family should have to endure," says Riddle. "This crash could have really been prevented if someone had just put down their phone and paid attention to the road."

It's sadly not unusual. Despite it being illegal to read, write, or send a text while driving, and nearly everyone agrees it's dangerous, a AAA survey finds more than a third of drivers do some or all of that. 

They're easy to spot: drifting across traffic, or stuck at a light reading, while everyone else tries to go. 

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TxDOT says distracted driving is responsible for one of every six crashes on Texas roads.

The Talk.Text.Crash campaign tries to make an impression to change that. There's been improvement, with an 18% drop in distracted fatalities last year, but too many still occur. 

"A lot of that is 100%," says TxDOT's Bambi Hall. "Even though we're human beings, we can make human decisions by not driving distracted."

The last time there was a 'day' when someone did not die on Texas roadways was November 2000. Nearly 24 years.

TxDOT encourages drivers to pay attention to the road, put the phone down, and pull over or stop before doing anything that interferes with driving.