Distracted driving: How cellphone use leads to countless accidents

Texting and driving has been a problem on the roads for years and statistics show, car accidents caused by distracted driving are taking more than eight lives in the U.S. every single day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

It's estimated that distracted driving contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes, that's around 5,000 people killed every year, according to AAA. 

Texas is one of four states that does not have a sweeping ban on cellphone use while driving.

Statistics show nearly one in five traffic crashes in Texas is caused by a distracted driver. In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes

Cameras on the KHOU Weather Tracker truck caught drivers red handed earlier this week. Cameras mounted on the dashboard and on top of the truck captured a 360-degree view of fellow drivers while our crew drove safely on Houston roads.

Cellphone use in Texas is only banned for teen drivers, school bus drivers when students are on board and in school zones. 

However, officials say the majority of drivers do text in school zones.

"That’s why it’s 20 miles an hour through here. But, even at 20 miles an hour you can kill somebody if you’re not paying attention." said Capt. Jesse Inocencio with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. 

The Houston Fire Department has been cracking down on teen drivers seen texting on the roads. 

The department is trying to encourage safer driving with a new public service announcement released this week. In the video, local parents spread messages to their children to stay safe on the roads.

KHOU 11 reporter Melissa Correa tested her own reaction time while driving and using a cellphone in an empty parking lot earlier this week.

While driving 20 miles per hour, Correa found there was a 22-foot difference where she stopped the vehicle before and after using a cellphone. 

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