AUSTIN, Texas — The month of April recognizes a variety of things, including distracted driving.
It's a common problem - pulling out a phone and texting behind the wheel. That choice can be deadly.
"Allowing yourself to put that cellphone down and not be distracted could save your life," said Texas Highway Patrol Sergeant Robbie Barrera, who is also a spokesperson for Texas DPS. "Our goal is to get to the destination wherever we’re going safely, and if we’re distracted just by taking our eyes off the road for a couple of seconds, it prevents us from making those important choices with what’s going on in front of us," said Barrera.
One of the efforts to raise awareness for distracted driving is found at The Dashcam Store in Austin.
It put together video compilations of potentially distracted or reckless drivers taken on its dashcams. They're sent in by customers. It's all to raise awareness.
"Showing some of those incidents has a good 'wow' factor in saying, 'Wow, you know that can happen to me too,'" said Andrew Aboudaoud, the president of The Dashcam Store in Austin. "There are too many accidents, there are too many deaths and injuries in the United States from auto accidents."
Texas DPS and others say putting the phone down is one of the best things drivers can do. In fact, it's the law everywhere in Texas.
“It’s up to each of us to make sure that we do our part as drivers on our Texas highways to be as safe as possible," said Barrera.
But its not just phones that can distract you; you also may have kids in the backseat.
"As a parent pull over and take care of the situation at hand with your children. Don't take that chance at 70-plus miles per hour trying to take care of the situation in taking your eyes off the roadway for just those few seconds," said Barrera.
"Distracted driving can be equated to drunk driving. It's that big of a problem," said Aboudaoud.
A fatal crash in Bastrop County that killed four children is still under investigation.
DPS told KVUE in a statement the driver who hit the family's car may have been distracted potentially by a cellphone, saying:
"The brake was not applied until .6 seconds prior to the crash, indicating a possible distraction (cellphone) in the vehicle."