Traffic

TxDOT: 1 in 5 crashes is from distracted driving

TxDOT: 1 in 5 crashes is from...

EL PASO, Texas - We've all been stuck in slow-and-go traffic at some point during our commute, but even when the sea of red break lights never seems to end the Texas Department of Transportation says keeping your focus on the roadway makes everyone safer. 

Whether drivers are using a hands-free device or have their phone glued to their palm, cell phone use drives up the likelihood of a crash. 

TxDOT said one in five crashes happen because of driver distraction. 

Despite the figures, there is no statewide law that bans motorists from using cell phones while driving. Some areas have taken matters into their own hands to keep people safe, El Paso is one of them. 

City council passed an ordinance in 2010 that bans the use of the phones while driving. Wireless devices can only be used  in "voice-activated" or "hands-free" mode when driving.

El Paso police said "temporary or brief use of a hand-held wireless communication device is generally unacceptable and can result in a citation." 

Even if you're using a hands-free device, police said you can still get a ticket if they determine you were driving distracted. 

And if you think you can send off a quick text, but then get caught by the police, you could face a fine of around $116.

More than 90 cities in Texas have banned wireless communication devices and texting while driving. 

The Texas Tribune reports key lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are optimistic a statewide texting-while-driving ban is within reach this legislative session.

A texting ban bill that recently passed the House was authored by State Rep. Tom Craddick, a Midland Republican.

Tania Pacheco and Aaron Nunez told ABC-7 they want to see legislation passed to stop cell phone use while driving all together. 

"It's really really bad in El Paso," said Pacheco. "I think it's getting worse." 

Nunez said he sometimes drives a motorcycle, and that knowing people are distracted is dangerous. 

"I felt in danger," said Nunez. "You look over and it's people on the phone."

 

 

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