Special to The Dallas Examiner
Jamie Chapman was a 20-year-old college student when he made the fateful decision to drive after drinking at a party. He slammed into a tree and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Although he survived the crash, it left him physically debilitated.
“Jamie was no different than any other college kid,” said Katrina Chapman, Jamie’s mother. “He loved a good time with his friends, and he had so much to look forward to in the future. Jamie’s decision to drive drunk has affected our entire family’s life, even eight years later. I hope young adults will see Jamie’s story and make the right decision to find a sober ride.”
The Chapman family shared their story through TxDOT’s “Plan While You Can” campaign, which aims to save lives and decrease alcohol-related crashes. As many college students enjoy spring break in the coming weeks, the campaign will focus on younger drivers who engage in activities involving alcohol.
In 2019, during spring break in Texas, there were 417 crashes involving young drivers who were driving under the influence of alcohol. Those crashes killed 26 people and seriously injured another 52.
“Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly choice that can ruin the future of a young driver and all those involved in a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “This spring break, be responsible and plan ahead for a sober ride.”
The campaign will tour the state featuring the “Plan to Win” virtual reality game. The game poses questions related to drinking and driving, and illustrates the consequences of getting behind the wheel through an immersive experience.
Driving under the influence of alcohol not only risks death or serious injuries, but it can also be costly. Drivers can face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their driver’s license. Instead of getting behind the wheel, here are some alternative options:
- Designate a sober driver.
- Contact a cab or ride-share service.
- Use mass transit.
- Spend the night.
“Plan While You Can” 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 and never driving after drinking or using other drugs.