AUSTIN, TX (KAUZ) - TxDOT is urging drivers to stay focused on the road as distracted-driving crashes go up across the state.
It is estimated 1 in 5 traffic crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving. DPS officials said the problem is getting worse.
The month of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Texas Department of Transportation is launching its "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign to remind drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.
Last year, 108,962 distracted driving crashes were reported in Texas. That is up 3-percent over 2015.
452 people were killed and 3,068 were seriously injured.
Officials said these crashes are highest among drivers ages 16 to 24.
38-percent of Texas drivers have admitted to using their cell phone while behind the wheel.
In Wichita Falls, there is a hands-free ordinance in effect that forbids drivers from using their cell phones, unless they are using a hands-free device while driving.
While cell phone use is the most recognizable distraction, adjusting the radio, eating, grooming or programming a GPS system is just as dangerous.
The "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign is reminding drivers to:
* Put away the phone – or turn it off – before getting behind the wheel.
* Pull over to a safe location if you must talk or text.
* Use an app that will block texts and calls while driving.
* Tell friends, family, and colleagues you won't respond to calls or texts when driving.
* Always give driving your full attention.