EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
A driver might only glance away for what they think is a second to read or send a text, but it’s typically longer.
“When you check a text, or even just change the station on your radio, your eyes come off the road for six seconds,” said Kelly Tarla, the Burnet County AgriLife Extension Service agent. “A lot can happen in six seconds.”
The Extension Service, Burnet County 4-H, and Burnet Consolidated Independent School District are hosting Talk/Text Crash to make people aware of the dangers of distracted driving. The free program is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 29, in the BCISD board room, 208 E. Brier St. in Burnet.
Everyone is welcome, but especially teens and their parents.
“Being that we’re a lot busier in our lives, teens are on the road more going to activities after school and other places. It’s just the way it is,” Tarla said. “And texting is a common form of communication. One reason is it’s fast.”
But not as fast as you think, she pointed out. And, texting and driving is illegal in the state of Texas.
Distracted driving due to texting and other activities can be deadly. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 540,561 motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2018 in the state. Of those, 95,572, or 18 percent, were caused by distracted driving, which resulted in 394 deaths and 2,340 serious injuries.
Distraction played a role in 59 percent of teen driver-involved crashes in 2018.
While texting and driving gets the most attention, any activity that distracts a driver can be dangerous. People can learn just how dangerous by using the Extension Service’s simulator at the Tuesday program. The simulator puts people through distracted-driving scenarios and provides feedback on how each distraction affected their attention to the road.
“The simulator will give people an idea of how distracted they were or how long their eyes were off the road,” she said. “I think they’ll be surprised that something they thought only took their eyes off the road for a second was actually several seconds.”
Call the Burnet County AgriLife Extension Office at 512-756-5463 for more information about Talk/Text Crash.