WACO, Texas — Looking at your phone for just two seconds while behind the wheel doubles your risk of getting into a wreck, according to AAA.
AAA Texas is driving home the message about how many people are dying in car accidents because they just cannot keep their hands off their cell phones.
"The social stigma on drinking and driving, we want to put that on texting and driving," AAA Texas Spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said.
"A lot of people don't take texting and driving seriously even though they know it's dangerous,"
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states nine people die every day nationwide because of distracted driving.
More than 3,000 lives are lost every year, NHTSA said.
Armbruster explained the actual numbers are likely higher, "Because a lot of times when its a distracted driver crash, it can be difficult to prove when the driver doesn't admit to it or if they're injured or killed."
The Texas Department of Transportation pointed out that more than 400 of those people died in Texas last year, 17 percent more than the previous year.
A recent AAA survey shows more than half of drivers admit to texting or emailing on their phones while in the car.
Don't be a statistic.
Focus on the road, not your phone, because lives depend on it.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, so you'll notice these ads on TV and online.
AAA Texas offers the following advice to avoid distracted driving:
- Put it away: place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation
- Know where you’re going: if using a navigation system, program the destination before driving
- Pullover: if you have to call or text while on the road
- Ask passengers for help: let them use the phone instead
- Be a good passenger: say something if your driver is distracted
- Don’t be a distraction: avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
- Everyone should prevent being intexticated: Pedestrians and people riding bikes shouldn't be on their phones either