June 20, 2017

My I35 Central Texas News – Texting while driving will be illegal statewide beginning Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. To help drivers make the adjustment to not texting while driving, we want to remind Texas drivers that TxDOT has created Safe Phone Zones at each of its 55 Safety Rest Areas and 12 Travel Information Centers throughout the state. We welcome drivers to begin using these locations for safe cellphone use to form good habits now, before the law goes into effect. In the Waco District, there are safety rest areas available along I-35 in Hill County (between Hillsboro and West) and Bell County (south of Salado).

In addition to texting while driving being a distraction, fatigue can also affect a driver’s reaction time and awareness, and is not safe. If you haven’t visited one of the safety rest areas yet, you’ll find there’s plenty of parking away from the mainlane traffic, along with a chance to get out of the vehicle and stretch, walk around a bit, get something to eat if you’re hungry, and use the restrooms provided. The beautiful new facilities provide information inside about each area’s history and culture, along with outside playground space and picnic areas. Many of the rest areas also offer free Wi-Fi for visitors.

More than 109,000 crashes in Texas were caused by distracted driving in 2016. TxDOT has been working with GEICO and other potential sponsors to encourage the use of our rest areas throughout the state by reminding drivers that safety rest areas and travel information centers are ideal places to take a break and use mobile devices. When safety rest areas are not close by, TxDOT strongly encourages drivers to pull into a parking lot before using mobile devices.

More information on TxDOT’s Safe Phone Zones and the locations of rest areas and travel information centers within the state can be found at DriveTexas™. For more information on distracted driving, please visit Distraction.gov or TxDOT.gov.