Transportation

New Required Course For Young Drivers Targets Distracted Driving

Starting in September everyone who gets a first-time drivers license in Texas will have to take a distracted driving education course. The new rule takes effect along with a law that bans texting behind the wheel.

In 2016 there were close to 110-thousand crashes around Texas that were blamed on distracted driving. Here in Harris County that number was around 15,000. 15 people were killed in those wrecks.  Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Standifer says all those incidents were preventable.

“We want to lower the number of serious bodily injury crashes and those crashes that lead to death just because of the technology that’s been brought into play,” says Standifer.

Beginning drivers ages 16 and 17 are already required to take a distracted driving course. Now Standifer says they’ve rolled out a course for drivers who may be getting their licenses a little later, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are also used to having a phone close by.

“So to them it’s second nature,” adds Standifer. “So that’s why we’re trying to address it with young folks and the teens.”

The new requirement goes into effect at the same time as a new Texas law that bans texting while driving statewide. Standifer says they’re also preparing a distracted driving course for people 25 and older that debuts next year.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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