Report: Midland & Ector County among the worst in Texas for distracted driving crashes

ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) -- A recently-released report names Midland County as one of the worst counties for distracted driving, and Ector County as having the biggest increase in distracted driving crashes.

But the report from the website Value Penguin shows that overall, Texas has seen a 7 percent decrease in distracted driving crashes.

The website calculated these numbers by analyzing the total number of crashes caused by distracted driving and reported by the Texas Department of Transportation. Those numbers were then compared to census data to uncover the distracted driving crashes per capita for each county.

Out of all 254 Texas counties, the report found that Ector County had the biggest increase in distracted driving-related accidents. The report states that from 2016 to 2017, these crashes were up 49 percent, totaling 111 more crashes year over year.

Midland County was ranked number nine on the site’s 10 worst large counties for distracted driving list.

One woman originally from Midland, Marci Corry, developed a phone application that rewards drivers for not texting and driving. The app, called Safe 2 Save, allows drivers to earn points for not using their phone while driving then redeem those points at hundreds of restaurants.

Corry developed the app after an acquaintance at Texas A&M was hit and killed by a distracted driver.

“We have to see this as a culture as a real issue. Putting it up there with drinking and driving, and fastening their seat belt,” she said.

The amount of distracted drivers in the area concern some parents, like Ismael Navarrete. Navarrete is an attentive father to his two-year-old son.

“It makes it a lot more difficult and dangerous and it makes it harder for parents to be out driving with their kids,” he said.

The father said he has witnessed “a lot of people” driving and texting, putting on their makeup, or on their cell phones.

The numbers of distracted drivers also impact those who work in the area, like Carlos Desantiago. Desantiago works at a pipeline in the Midland/ Odessa area but is originally from Brownswood, TX.

“Oh it’s crazy, you never know when you’re going to make it back home,” he said.

The report and personal experience from the community members leave them with a message for other drivers.

“It’s unfortunate, you know? Because people shouldn’t be distracted driving. We could save lives if we just put our phones away, makeup, eating,” Navarrete said.

“Stop being distracted, playing on your phone, focus on the road so you won’t get into accidents,” Odessa student Joison Chang said.