MADD North Texas forms coalition to help drivers make it home for the holidays

Educating the citizens of Dallas County from the youngest to the oldest about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. – Photo courtesy of Dallas County DWI Task Force

Special to The Dallas Examiner

In Texas, Dallas County ranks among the top five cities with DWI deaths. Last year, the county had 2,259 alcohol-related crashes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving North Texas Affiliate and the Dallas County DWI Task Force have teamed up to give Dallas County residents a major incentive not to drive impaired during the holiday season.

The two groups will launch the #WhatAlcoholSays Campaign in partnership with AAA Texas and 24HourDallas with the hope to save lives and keep impaired drivers off Dallas County roadways throughout the holidays.

Commissioner Elba Garcia, taskforce chair, announced the official start of the campaign at the South Dallas Government Center Training Academy. She also stated that impaired driving will not be tolerated in Dallas County, especially during the holiday season.

“Our message to the public is very simple. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive,” Garcia stated. “When we know that every 15 minutes there is a death in the United States caused by a DWI, we know that cost over 10,000 lives a year in our country and here in Texas that’s every 20 minutes.”

Other speakers included Sheriff Assistant Chief Deputy Raymond Williams with Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Hon. John Cruezot, district attorney, Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas, Bryan Tony with 24Hour Dallas, Emma Dugas with MADD and Suzanne Beatty, a MADD DWI victim.

The coalition has worked with several local Dallas County restaurants and bars to promote road safety by providing ridesharing opportunities to patrons who frequent their establishments to prevent drunk driving – including discount codes on Lyft rides.

“24HourDallas remains committed to making Dallas safer, more inclusive and more vibrant at night. With each of these partners and participating businesses, we are excited this program will help ensure nighttime patrons have a safe night out and a safe ride home,” said Bryan G. Tony, project manager of MPA Good Neighbor Initiative.

Studies have shown that access to transportation alternatives like Lyft help reduce drunk driving fatalities.

“We are a proud Dallas County DWI Task Force member and their ‘What Alcohol Says’ holiday campaign saves lives. This campaign is an excellent opportunity to educate the community to encourage everyone to plan ahead, designate a non-drinking driver, and use rideshare like Lyft or public transportation if their plans involve alcohol or other drugs,” said Emma Dugas, project manager of MADD Texas State.

Lyft codes will be active on the day before Thanksgiving and continue through New Year’s.

 

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