Young drivers struggle to juggle their driving inexperience with distracted driving habits. This juggling act can be the cause of many car crashes. Many states, such as Texas, aim to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving.
Texas’ Efforts to Battle Distracted Driving
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 540,561 motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2018 on Texas roadways. Eighteen percent of those crashes (95,572) were due to distracted driving. Those crashes involved 394 deaths and 2,340 serious injuries. Distracted driving is also the leading cause of death for young drivers.
There’s not only the physical harm that distracted driving can bring, but there’s also the loss of property.
“While educators have been heavily campaigning to prevent texting and driving, it’s certainly gotten worse,” said Sean Pour, co-founder of SellMax, a nationwide car buying service. He has the unique perspective of seeing the aftermath of what distracted driving can do to a car.
“The rate of accidents has been incrementally creeping up. In 2016, we were purchasing around 11 cars a month as a result of texting and driving. But, now in 2019 we are purchasing around 35 cars a month that were [damaged due to] texting and driving accidents,” he said.
On September 1, 2017, Texas banned distracted driving activities such as reading, writing, and texting from mobile devices. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also required that anyone who wanted to receive a Texas driver’s license must take a distracted driving course.
Impact Texas Drivers — A Free, Required Course for Texas Drivers
To help young drivers become more focused drivers, DPS created Impact Texas Drivers (ITD). The goal to prevent loss of life and injury and to educate young drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
ITD has two different courses based on age. There’s one for teens called Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD), which launched in 2015. There’s also a course for young adults called Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD).
What Is Impact Texas Youth Drivers?
ITYD is a free, one-house video for drivers ages 18 to 24 who have completed a driver’s education program. IYTD is also for drivers ages 25 and over with. Texas will soon roll out Impact Texas Adult Driver (ITAD), which is for drivers ages 25 and older.
The ITYD video has four different modules with educational information on distracted driving. The modules also include stories from people who have been affected by distracted driving. Driver's license applicants must complete ITYD 90 days before the driving skills test.
The Impact Texas Drivers programs won't replace the more comprehensive driver’s education courses, but they can help underline the dangers of distracted driving.
Fewer Distracted Drivers, Fewer Devastated Lives
San Antonio attorney Joseph Hoelscher at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC has seen how car crashes can devastate people’s lives.
“I represent drivers who hurt and killed others accidentally," he said. "There's a lot of trauma and a lot of pain, on all sides. The cost of those accidents is huge socially, economically, and in human terms. If an online video [like ITYD] helps mitigate that, even a little, I'm a big fan."