Throughout the holiday season, TxDOT will be working with police departments and sheriff’s offices across the Lone Star state to reduce impaired driving. Law enforcement statewide will be working overtime to find and arrest impaired drivers from now through New Year’s Day.
To remind Texas motorists to celebrate responsibly, TxDOT is behind a host of outreach efforts in major Texas markets. Convenience stores, restaurants, digital jukeboxes, bathroom mirrors in bars—even Facebook video games—will carry messages reminding Texans not to drink and drive.
"We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Director. "That’s why we’re making a special effort to reach motorists with ‘don’t drink and drive’ reminders popping up online as well as at locations where alcohol is served or purchased."
Santa’s reindeer will adorn bar coasters, bathroom mirror decals, street posters and interactive digital jukeboxes to remind patrons to find a sober ride home if they’ve been drinking. The reindeer’s message will read, "Don’t drive if you’re tipsy, buzzed or Blitzen. Call a cab or get a sober ride home."
The campaign will also include a new animated web video featuring an office gift exchange with Santa’s elves. In the midst of holiday party high jinks, one of the elves offers the best gift of all—to serve as designated driver for his tipsy co-workers. Facebook users can actually become that elf in a new video game that allows players to navigate through Santa’s workshop, dodging beer mugs and champagne bottles while collecting car keys from the other elves. The video and game can be found at www.facebook.com/SantaInTexas.
The Texas Restaurant Association, the Texas Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, the Texas Package Store Association, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Texas Municipal Police Association are all working with TxDOT to help distribute holiday impaired driving prevention messages.
Convicted first-time DWI offenders face a fine of up to $2,000, loss of their driver’s license for up to a year, and up to 180 days in jail. Safety officials say other costs associated with an impaired driving arrest and conviction can add up to more than $17,000 for bail, legal fees, court appearances, court-ordered classes, vehicle insurance increases, and other expenses.
In 2009, there were 12,408 alcohol-related crashes in Texas that killed 956 motorists and injured 17,703 others.
The Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining nearly 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its approximately 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and preserving the value of the state’s transportation assets.