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All this month, the Texas Department of Transportation is asking motorists to end distracted driving across the state as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted driving is now the number two cause for traffic-related crashed in the state.

Last year, TxDOT says that nearly 1 in 5 accidents were caused by a distracted driver. In those accidents, 364 people were killed and over 2,200 were seriously injured. TxDOT says all Texans should put their phones down and give driving their full attention whenever they are behind the wheel.

“A serious or fatal crash can happen in an instant,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “If you’re distracted by your phone, or doing anything else that takes your focus away from driving, you’re putting yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk. Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. Driving should be your number one priority behind the wheel – everything else can wait.”

TxDOT has re-launched an Internet-based augmented reality game called “Dart Those Distractions”. The online game is used to reinforce the importance of paying attention while behind the wheel.

"Dart Those Distractions" is designed to be played on a smart phone, or tablet. The game increases awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an interactive manner.

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.

Since September 1, 2017, it has been illegal to read, write or send a text while driving in Texas. Violators can also be fined up to $200.

TxDOT tips to prevent distracted driving:

  • 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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