DPS campaign reminds drivers of texting dangers

1 in 5 crashes blamed on texting while driving

By Eileen Gonzales - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Department of Transportation's Talk, Text, Crash campaign made a stop outside of the Institute of Texan Cultures to remind drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

A giant smashed cell phone was the attention-getting symbol used for the campaign.

During the event, special guest speaker SAPD Officer Jonathan Esquivel shared his first-hand experience with a distracted driver who nearly cost him his life.

"He was reading a text, looking down at it (and) just didn't see me. I look down and I see this truck coming at me fast," said Esquivel.

That distracted driver mowed down Esquivel as he was working an accident on the access road of Loop 410 and Evers Road in February 2012. He said the fact that he's alive today is a miracle. He's still recovering from injuries but said he is doing very well.

However, he said a big concern is the fact that he sees distracted drivers on the road just about every day. 

"It aggravates me so much," he said. "All they have to do is put the phone down, put it in a glove box, put it in a purse, just don't look at it. Don't mess with it."

According to TxDOT, distracted driving is responsible for one in every five crashes in Texas.

There were more than 95,000 accidents caused by distracted drivers in Texas last year, in which 505 people were killed.

Still, as San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said, the problem continues to get worse. 

Although there's already a city-wide ordinance against texting and driving, as well as an ordinance against talking on cell phones in school zones, McManus said he'd like to see more done.

"I think that cell phone usage, all together, in vehicles should be outlawed," he said. "Instead of just texting and driving, it should (include) cell phone usage, period."

He added that events such as the Text, Drive, Crash campaign are an important reminder for drivers.

For a list of recent stories Eileen Gonzales has done, click here.

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