This week, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching an anti-distracted driving campaign called “Talk. Text. Crash” to remind Texans to put down their phones and give driving their full attention.

In a news release, TXDOT said nearly one in five crashes in Texas in 2020 resulted from distracted driving.

“A serious or fatal crash can happen in an instant. Motorists who are distracted by their phones, or partaking in any other activity that takes their focus away from driving, are putting themselves, their passengers and everyone else on the road at risk,” TXDOT said in the release, adding that distracted driving accidents are 100% preventable.

Since Sept. 1, 2017 it has been illegal to read, write or send a text while driving in Texas. Violators can face a fine up to $200.

Dangerous distractions include any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from safely operating a vehicle – including using a cell phone. Research shows that regardless of whether a driver uses a voice-to-text program, hands-free device or a handheld one, the distraction will affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.

The “Talk. Text. Crash” campaign is offering these tips to prevent distracted driving that can lead to a ticket, or worse, a crash:

>> Always give driving your full attention.

>> Pull off the road entirely and come to a complete stop before you talk or text.

>> Put your phone away, turn it off, or use an app or your phone settings to block texts and calls while driving.

>> Tell friends, family and co-workers you won’t respond to texts or calls while driving.

>> Remember that all distractions are dangerous, so pay full attention when behind the wheel.

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