2011 TxDOT Drink. Drive. Go To Jail. Campaign
September 1, 2011
TxDOT Issues Warning Not to Drink and Drive over Holiday Weekend
Law Enforcement to Increase Patrols to Curb DWI over Labor Day
AUSTIN, TX — Texas law enforcement will be working overtime Labor Day weekend to find and arrest impaired drivers. Thousands of additional state troopers, police officers and sheriffs’ deputies across the state will be spending the holiday weekend patrolling Texas streets and highways for intoxicated motorists. The stepped-up DWI enforcement effort is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s annual Drink, Drive, Go to Jail campaign and runs through September 5.
“We want to remind people that driving while intoxicated on Texas roads will not be tolerated,” said Carol Rawson, TxDOT’s Traffic Operations Division Director. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy a safe holiday weekend. If you choose to drink, then choose not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Find another way home, or law enforcement will find you a ride to the local jail.”
Many police departments around the state also are conducting a “No Refusal” weekend as part of their Labor Day crackdown on drunk drivers. Motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated who decline to take a breath test are subject to a court-ordered blood test to measure the level of alcohol in their systems. Counties that have put “No Refusal” programs into effect report 100 percent DWI conviction rates.
In 2010, there were 25,032 alcohol-related crashes in Texas resulting in 1,057 deaths and 16,877 injuries. In 2010, 24 percent of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Texas were between the ages of 20 and 25, though that age group represents only 9 percent of the overall state population. More alcohol-related crashes occur between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. than any other hour of the day. Also, more alcohol-related crashes occurred on Saturday than on any other day of the week.
Texas considers DWI a serious crime – and one that is 100 percent preventable. Convicted first-time DWI offenders can pay a fine of up to $2,000, lose their driver’s license for up to a year and serve as much as 180 days in jail. Safety officials say other costs associated with an impaired driving arrest and conviction can add up to as much as $17,000 or more for bail, legal fees, court appearances, court-ordered classes, vehicle insurance increases and other expenses.
Safety advocates recommend that drivers call a cab, ask a friend or a family member for a ride, hand their keys to a designated driver, or simply stay put until they sober up. They also can take advantage of TxDOT’s digital RideFinder at www.TexasDWI.org which is accessible from cell phones with web browsers and lists ride options in areas throughout Texas.
TxDOT is not alone in its effort to curb drunk driving. Campaign partners include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, as well as hundreds of local law enforcement agencies.
For more information, contact the TxDOT media relations office at 512-463-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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