Special to The Dallas Examiner
Football is a huge part of Texas culture, and with the new season comes a message from TxDOT’s Drive Sober. No Regrets. Statewide Impaired Driving Campaign, encouraging fans to celebrate responsibly by always finding a sober ride.
“Fall football is a time-honored tradition in our state, but one regrettable decision to drink and drive could turn game day into a jail time or a deadly crash,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said. “Whether fans are tailgating with friends or celebrating their team’s big win, we want everyone to enjoy the season responsibly.”
Drinking and driving can lead to tragic consequences and can have serious physical, emotional and financial consequences that can last for years. A DWI crash could hurt or kill someone. It can devastate the lives of victims and survivors forever.
A person dies every nine hours and six minutes in a DUI-alcohol-related traffic crash in Texas. Last year, 963 people in Texas were killed and 2,114 seriously injured because someone chose to get behind the wheel while impaired.
In an effort to reduce those numbers by showing the realty and magnitude of drinking and driving, the campaign also includes a Face of Drunk Driving initiative, which puts real faces and stories behind the statistics by way of testimonials on video in English and Spanish.
The new initiative highlights the extensive human toll that drinking and driving can have, and it features personal accounts from offenders, victims, families of those who survived and others whose lives have been shattered as a result of impaired driving.
It also highlights the consequences of drinking and driving – from living with the memory of taking another person’s life to expensive fines and negative public opinion.
Drivers who chose to drink then get behind the wheel can face heavy consequences – whether they crash or get pulled over and arrested by a law officer. Either way, it can be expensive, lead to legal hassles, result in loss of vehicle causing transportation issues and create difficulty finding or keeping a job. It can be a shameful and embarrassing issue to have to address and can result in a loss of trust and long-term regrets.
“So, I’m back home from college, hanging out with friends, we’re drinking,” recalled Richie, who is part of the Face of Drunk Driving campaign. “So we started driving and the road is kinda windy. Next thing I know, I lost control of the car and I crashed into a house. And from there, you’ve got the backlash because it was on the news, and before I could even get back home, my phone was blowing up. People’s parents, other people, [were] like, ‘How could you?’ ‘So irresponsible.’
“And you go from thinking that I’m this good guy and everything is working out for me, to all of a sudden, like, I’m a felon. It’s a $30,000 mistake for me. It’s something I still think about and have to deal with every day.”
The stories and drunk driving facts can be found at https://www.facesofdrunkdriving.com.
Drinking and driving is 100% preventable. There are many sober ride options available. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use a rideshare service, stay put, call a friend or family member or use mass transit to ensure you don’t drive impaired. Tips for finding a sober ride can be found at https://www.soberrides.org.
Throughout the fall, the campaign will conduct outreach events at college campuses across the state in conjunction with football season.
The campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov.7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. The hashtag is a signal to Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.
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