Distracted Driver Course Soon Required for New Texas Drivers

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX) -- Drivers will soon have to take an additional course before they get their Texas driver license. It's a distracted driving course and will be required for certain potential drivers as of Sept. 1.

It only takes a second to become very distracted behind the wheel. Dave Ruhe owns Sue's Drive Rite and as a defensive driving instructor, he spends a lot of time and miles encouraging drivers to stay focused.

"For most youngsters, it's cell phones. It rings, they have to pick it up," Ruhe said. "Even if you go around the city now, you see all sorts of people still on their cell phones, holding them in your hand or having them up to their ear and that's not working well."

Ruhe says of the distracted drivers on the road, younger drivers are more prone to getting hurt.

"The average youngster out there is actually a whole lot more likely to die or get injured using a cell phone than an adult using a cell phone," Ruhe said.

That is why the Department of Public Safety is launching Impact Texas Young Drivers in the fall. It's a one-hour course prospective drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 must complete before taking their driving exam.

"We forget just how distracted we can be while driving, while traveling around the highway and how dangerous it can be," DPS Sgt. Dan Buesing said. "Any awareness is a good thing especially to those young drivers that are starting out their lives and need to be safe while doing so."

Buesing says in Wichita County, more than 1000 crashes were caused by distracted driving alone. He hopes this is another way to reduce those numbers. Wichita Falls residents agree that the course will be valuable to young drivers and all those they share the road with.

"Well there can never be too much training for driving," resident Charles Johnson said. Others residents like Dr. Carlton Ames says a small course can make a big difference.

"I think it's very important that what they're doing, if anything, it's creating some awareness. Maybe it might save a life and make a difference," Ames said.

Ruhe thinks the course will be eye opening for some younger drivers and will pay off for all Texans in the long run.

"This course will definitely improve overall the accidents and the death rates in Texas."

The course will feature true stories and recent research highlighting the risks associated with distracted driving. For more information on the new course and other available courses from Impact Texas, click here.


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