(CBSNewsTexas.com) - AAA Texas and the Insurance Council of Texas have a message they're hoping will save lives on Texas roadways. It's a campaign called Survive the Drive, and it's aiming to reverse a disturbing trend since the pandemic.
According to AAA Texas, prior to 2020, Texas drivers were getting the message about the perils of dangerous driving. And then the pandemic hit.
"Once the pandemic started, we started seeing risky driving behaviors - speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, all of those risky behaviors, also aggressive driving increasing," said Daniel Armbruster, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Texas.
As a result, they saw an increase in deaths on Texas roadways. Impaired driving deaths increased by more than 22% from 2019 to 2022. The Insurance Council of Texas also saw a spike in claims involving serious crashes.
"Population growth absolutely has something to do with it," said Rich Johnson, Director of Communications for The Insurance Council of Texas. "We're getting bigger. We have more people on the roads, as well as just the severity and the expense of cars these days to repair."
Throughout the fall, the mission of Survive the Drive is to educate Texans about safe road habits, like using a rideshare instead of drinking and driving.
"Put your phone in the glovebox. Give it to another passenger. Put it in the trunk, but you shouldn't have it right there with you, because you're going to be tempted to grab it," said Armbruster.
"We need to go back to those habits where we're driving slower, driving more safe, and driving less distracted," said Johnson.
They said this message is especially important this time of year when the sun starts setting earlier.
"We are going into time change now where you're going to have less daylight hours. And also just that the fact that these risky driving behaviors, most of these deaths are preventable," said Armbruster.
for more features.