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July 10, 2013

It Can Wait, Houston - No Texting While Driving Campaign
Video Contest Winners Announced

Mayor Annise Parker encourages all Houstonians not to text while driving. The City of Houston campaign, It Can Wait, Houston, was launched April 2, 2013, as a part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In conjunction with this effort, the Mayor's Youth Council held a video contest promoting the No Texting While Driving Campaign.

A total of 11 videos were submitted by students from high schools all over the city. The top three videos will be promoted through social media and Bellaire's winning submission will be used by the Houston Fire and Police Departments in safety presentations at area schools. 

Often youth think nothing can hurt them and that they are invincible. That is why this contest was so important to Mayor. The videos do an excellent job of depicting the dangers of texting and driving. It is her hope that their messages will help convince their peers, as well as adults, to put the phone down while driving. The Mayor reminds us that we all have to change our habits and refuse to put our own lives and the lives of others at risk.

Please take the time to view the winning videos:

Those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. In 2011, 13 percent of the over 3,000 traffic fatalities in Texas were due to texting while driving. Research released by AT&T indicates that 43 percent of commuters admit to a "habit" of texting while driving, even though they are aware of the risks. Take the no texting while driving pledge by visiting

It Can Wait, Houston is an extension of AT&T's national Texting and Driving-It Can Wait movement. The local effort is being guided by a task force consisting of representatives of law enforcement, government, education, corporate, medical, professional and faith-based organizations. The Mayor also urges Houstonians to get involved via Twitter and Facebook. Use the hash tag #itcanwaithou.

For any questions or comments, email

Budget Bootcamp: First City of Houston Hackathon Project Implemented

Budget Bootcamp, a new city website application that provides easy access to city budget information, is the first Houston Hackathon project to become reality.  Budget Bootcamp is hosted on the Finance Department's website and provides citizens an educational walkthrough of the City's budget data - both for the recently adopted Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Budget, as well as all adopted budgets since Fiscal Year 2010.

Budget Bootcamp has something for every budget policy-wonk. Whether you want to break down the city's revenues for FY14, see the trends over time or see how the city's taxpayer-supported General Fund transforms from revenues into department expenditures, this application is a terrific step in terms of financial education and transparency.

The City of Houston hosted a 24 hour Open Innovation Hackathon on May 17-18, 2013, which offered software developers, designers and data analysts to collaborate on data and software projects. Over 24 hours, Houston's "civic hackers" pitched ideas, formed teams and developed innovative new websites, mobile apps and insightful data visualizations to address community and City problems.

The City is expecting to implement a handful of additional Hackathon projects in the coming months, as well as continuing to invest in the Houston Data Portal that was set up for the Hackathon.

For further details about the City of Houston Open Innovation Hackathon event, visit or contact Bruce Haupt at

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