Texas Department of Transportation begins Be Safe, Drive Smart i - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Texas Department of Transportation begins Be Safe, Drive Smart initiative

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TYLER (KYTX)- In the summer months of 2013, Texans were involved in more than 17,000 car crashes that led to serious injury or death.

Because of this, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching its Be Safe, Drive Smart initiative.

Carol King lost an aunt to a driving accident as a teenager.  

She now works with Mothers Against Drunk Driving so other family members don't face the same sadness.

"If you're texting and your eyes are not on the road and you're swerving into someone else's lane then you are hurting that person. You never know who your actions are going to impact," says King.

Larry Krantz of TXDOT says the initiative aims to remind drivers of safe driving tips like not driving while tired and keeping distance between you and the car in front of you.

"Those are really the things that we want to hit with this program because all of those are contributing factors in making Texas the deadliest state in the nation with highway fatalities year after year," says Krantz.

King says drivers always have a choice to be safe.

"I think it's important because I think it plays right along with what MADD is trying to get people to understand. Just be smart with the choices that you make," says King.

The hidden factor in these accidents? Fatigue. 

After being awake for 18 hours, your body functions as if you had a blood alcohol content of .08. 

"It just takes 1 split section for your eyes to close. Thankfully for me, I woke up in time. I have crossed that center line and there was oncoming traffic. I would have left my kids without a mother," says King.

Krantz stresses that it is up to drivers to know when they need to pull over.

"This is the ultimate personal responsibly item in terms of arriving safely and keeping those with you and around you safe as well," says Krantz.

TXDOT hopes the initiative will keep Texans safer on the road this summer.

The organization Reminds drivers to always obey speed limits, keep a safe distance between cars, and get enough sleep before a long drive.

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