New distracted driving course required before license is issued

FILE - Person using a cellphone while driving (KXAN FILE Photo)
FILE - Person using a cellphone while driving (KXAN FILE Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the startling statistic that 1 in 5 traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver, Texas is requiring people to take a new, free one-hour course dedicated to educating drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.

The Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD) course will be required for certain drivers beginning Sept. 1. The video shares real life stories of people and their families who were impacted as a result of distracted driving. The course will be mandatory for drivers 18-24 years of age and older that have completed the adult driver education course and for drivers 25 and over who may or may not have completed a driver education course.

Drivers 18-24 must also complete the 6-hour adult driver education course prior to the skills examination.

In 2015, the Texas Department of Public Safety developed the Impact Texas Driver Program (ITD), a two-hour informational video that focused on distracted driving. Drivers ages 16 and 17 are required to complete that course.

“Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis, and it should command our undivided attention,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This new component of the department’s distracted driving initiative uses research and compelling true stories to highlight the many risks facing drivers.”

Last year, there were nearly 110,000 traffic crashes in Texas involving distracted driving–up 3 percent over 2015. Those crashes led to 455 deaths on Texas roads.

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