"You Talk. You Text. You Crash."
That's the message you've likely seen in an effort by the Texas Department of Transportation to get people to put down their phones and focus on the road while driving. TxDOT is holding a "Distracted Driving Summit" Thursday morning to reverse the trend of sometimes deadly distracted-driving crashes.
Last year, distracted driving crashes killed 482 people in Texas. And authorities estimate that one in five accidents are due to distracted driving.
The summit convened at the Renaissance Austin Hotel in North Austin Thursday morning.
Mike and Tracy Myers attended. Their daughter, Elana, died in a distracted driving crash in 2014. Mr. Myers told the story of his 18-year-old daughter, a freshman at Texas Tech, in hopes of inspiring others to make a change.
"Our daughter was coming home," recalled Myers. "We were looking forward to seeing her. Instead we had a state trooper come to our house. So our message is: put away your phone, don't text, and buckle up."
He spoke to safety advocates, policymakers, business leaders and law enforcement to talk about real, actionable solutions.
Experts also talked about the science behind distracted driving to get to the root of the problem and find ways to change driving habits.
Beside changing the behavior of drivers when they get behind the wheel, Myers would like to see a statewide hands-free law, which still doesn't exist in Texas.