Austin, Texas | As holiday festivities get into full swing, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to stay safe and sober when traveling to and from parties and other celebrations.
“We want drivers to have fun over the holidays, but more importantly, we want them to celebrate responsibly,” said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). “Make a sober ride part of your plans and don’t let one bad choice ruin the holidays for you and your family.”
TxDOT’s Sober Ride Sleigh will be visiting more than a dozen cities across Texas to draw attention to the importance of having a sober ride. The “sleigh” is a donated limousine wrapped to look like a holiday gift. It will visit shopping malls, parades and other holiday-related venues.
During last year’s holiday season (Dec. 1, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014), there were 2,367 DUI-alcohol traffic crashes in Texas resulting in 763 serious injuries and 92 fatalities. While these figures are staggering, DUI traffic fatalities actually decreased 8.9 percent compared with the same time frame the previous year.
“A decrease in fatalities is always welcome news and I think it speaks to the importance of our aggressive impaired driving campaigns,” Weber said. “As Texans, however, we must do better because one life lost to impaired driving is not only tragic, but also preventable.”
The TxDOT Sober Ride Sleigh campaign occurs in conjunction with law enforcement’s increased holiday efforts to crack down on drunk driving and curb vehicle crashes and fatalities. In many jurisdictions, no-refusal programs will be implemented.
TxDOT also is partnering with the National Safety Council and some of the state’s largest employers to help promote the safe and sober message this holiday season. The Texas Hospitality Association and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission also will be distributing sober ride materials in stores and venues where alcohol is sold. Finally, TxDOT is working with transit authorities in Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi to encourage people to use the bus to get sober rides home.
Texans who make a pledge to have a sober ride this holiday season can enter to win donated prizes, including a day at the Richard Petty Racing Experience at Texas Motor Speedway or a SpaFinder gift certificate valued at $2,000. Three runners-up each will win a $1,000 American Express gift card. Contest details and ways to enter can be found at holidaysoberride.com.
Texans looking for a sober ride can visit soberrides.org for assistance.
Information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports (CR-3) received and processed by the department as of Oct. 31, 2014.