Texas cracking down on distracted drivers

Channel 6 news reporter Chris Rogers reports.

KILLEEN - Distracted driving has become a bigger issue as technology continues to develop. 

For many families, they have felt the consequences first hand. 

However, beginning in September, prospecting drivers will have to jump a new hoop to get a license in Texas as law enforcement continues to fight the problem. 

Millions of Americans have become glued to their phones in the most dangerous place -- behind the wheel. 

In 2016, more than 3,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes. 

"There's a lot of people on the same amount of concrete daily," Department of Public Safety Lt. Lonny Haschel said.

State troopers have begun to combat the problem. Next month, a required one-hour online course will go into effect for new drivers 18 to 24 years old.

For people like Efren Tabonares, this is an important step. Tabonares lost his daughter, Clarissa, two months ago after a distracted driver flew through a red light and crashed into her vehicle in Killeen.

"We got to the receiving room, but it was too late the doctor told us she was gone," Tabonares said. 

The course will focus on statistics and collision math in hopes to educate drivers on how dangerous it is to take their eyes off the road. 

Tabonares believes this is the leading factor in vehicle accidents.

"Either people are on their phones, or they are not paying attention," Tabonares said.

Tabonares urges everyone on the roads to slow down and pay attention to other drivers so his daughter's death will not be in vain. 

"She was the last kid that we had in the house, so now we're empty. Her memory is all over the place. It's so hard," Tabonares said.

Tabonares said the investigation into his daughter's death is ongoing, and told Channel 6 he is pushing for lower speed limits in some trouble areas of Killeen as well. 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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