AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Transportation reminds motorists that law enforcement will be out in force on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in an effort to reduce crashes and discourage drunk driving.
“The New Year’s Eve holiday has historically been a dangerous time on our roadways,” said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). “Texans should plan ahead for a sober ride or risk suffering the consequences. Drunk driving will not be tolerated in Texas.”
TxDOT’s annual Holiday Impaired Driving Campaign began Dec. 1 and runs through New Year’s Day to promote the importance of planning for a sober ride. The campaign coincides with an increase in law enforcement patrols aimed at reducing the number of impaired driving crashes in Texas during the holiday season. Numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the state also will implement no-refusal initiatives.
Drivers arrested for DWI can face jail time and up to $17,000 in court costs and legal fees. The legal limit for intoxication in Texas is .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC).
During last year’s New Year’s holiday (from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 to midnight on Jan. 1), there were 218 DUI alcohol-related traffic crashes in Texas resulting in 10 fatalities and 76 injuries (both incapacitating and non-incapacitating). These DUI alcohol-related fatalities marked an increase of 25 percent from the previous New Year’s holiday.
Other TxDOT efforts to curb impaired driving include partnering with the National Safety Council and some of the state’s largest employers to promote the safe and sober message; working with the Texas Hospitality Association and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to distribute sober ride materials in stores and venues where alcohol is sold; and working with transit authorities to encourage people to take public transportation to and from holiday celebrations.
Additionally, Texans looking for a sober ride can visit SoberRides.org for assistance.