TX DOT works with Waco PD to keep drunk drivers off the road for upcoming Labor Day holiday
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Texas Department of Transportation partnered with Waco PD and law enforcement throughout the state to boost efforts in keeping drunk drivers off the road during the Labor Day holiday.
“TX DOT is supporting law enforcement statewide as they beef up enforcement against drunk driving, especially as the Labor Day holiday approaches,” Jake Smith, the Waco District’s public information officer for TX DOT, said. “This campaign is a statewide effort by TX DOT to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.”
However, drunk driving is a state-wide problem all year.
TX DOT reports one out of every four traffic deaths in Texas are caused by drunk drivers, meaning drunk drivers caused 1,100 traffic-related deaths last year. Over 25,000 accidents in the state are caused by DUI-alcohol related instances.
Smith said, in the Central Texas area, there were 716 DUE-alcohol related crashed in 2021, and about 5% of those crashes resulted in deaths and 12% resulted in serious injuries.
On Monday morning in Bellmead, a man from San Antonio crashed into an 18-wheeler, leaving a 2-year-old and adult in critical condition. Officials said he was driving drunk, and the man faces charges of intoxication among other charges.
TX DOT and Smith said alcohol-related traffic accidents are 100% preventable, especially since rideshare apps make it easier for people to find alternative rides home.
“It is so simple these days to find a sober ride, whether it be through a ride share service or a sober friend, sober family member,” Smith said. “We just want to reiterate that point, which is, if you consumed any amount of alcohol, do not get behind the wheel and drive.”
He said people should not drive regardless of how little alcohol he or she may have consumed.
“For anyone who says that they just had a little bit or just a sip, it’s still unacceptable,” Smith said.
Waco PD is also boosting law enforcement efforts during this Labor Day time period to identify and arrest any driver showing signs of driving under the influence.
“This is when law enforcement agencies around the state crack down on drunk drivers,” Waco PD Officer Heath Jackson said. “We want to get those drunk drivers off the road before they injure or kill someone.”
The fine for a DWI first offense is up to $2,000. It could also result in up to 180 days in jail with three mandatory days as well as losing your driver’s license for up to a year.
The increased enforcement kicked off Aug. 19 and ends Sept. 5; however, the campaign’s message to “drive sober, no regrets,” continues throughout the year.
“It’s a year-round issue with drunk driving and, especially with holidays, and everyone is going to be celebrating the end of summer and the Labor Day holiday,” Smith said. “If you’ve had any amount of alcohol, do not get behind the wheel.”
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