As the anticipation of Labor Day weekend grows, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is taking a stand against drunk driving by reminding all Texans about the potential dangers that can accompany celebratory gatherings. Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), TxDOT has declared an intensified enforcement period spanning from August 18 to September 4, with Texas law enforcement agencies dedicated to ramping up efforts to apprehend motorists suspected of driving under the influence.
TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams conveyed a strong message, highlighting the importance of responsible decision-making during this period. “Too many people are killed on our roads each year—especially during holidays—due to impaired driving. These crashes are inexcusable and 100% preventable,” Williams stated. He emphasized the significance of preplanning for safe transportation options if individuals choose to consume alcohol during gatherings, whether through rideshare services, taxis, public transit, or designated drivers.
The prevailing reality underscores the need for ongoing vigilance in the face of this issue, as people continue to make the ill-advised choice to drive after drinking. Disturbing statistics from the previous year demonstrate the extent of the problem: over the Labor Day holiday weekend alone, there were 345 alcohol-related traffic crashes resulting in 20 fatalities and 62 serious injuries. Alarmingly, throughout the year, a life was lost every 7 hours and 17 minutes in Texas due to alcohol-related traffic crashes, ultimately resulting in the tragic loss of 1,203 lives.
As the upcoming enforcement period gains momentum, a new law is poised to come into effect on September 1. This law stipulates that individuals convicted of intoxication manslaughter must pay child support if they are responsible for the death of a parent with young children. Erin Crawford Bowers, who endured a heart-wrenching tragedy at just six months old when her parents fell victim to a drunk driver, is now a married mother of two. In an effort to prevent other families from enduring similar heartache, Bowers is courageously sharing her personal story across Texas.
Bowers expressed her aspirations, revealing the simple desires that were stolen from her due to the recklessness of drunk driving. “I just wanted my father to walk me down the aisle or my mom to be there when I had babies,” she shared, emphasizing the profound and lasting impact of these preventable incidents.
The “Drive Sober. No Regrets” initiative is a pivotal aspect of the broader campaign called #EndTheStreakTX. This initiative encompasses a social media and word-of-mouth effort designed to inspire safer choices while operating a vehicle, ultimately aiming to end the staggering streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways. Tragically, November 7, 2000, marks the last day without a fatality on Texas roads, serving as a stark reminder of the urgency to tackle the pervasive issue of impaired driving.