With the Labor Day holiday right around the corner, the Texas Department of Transportation is aiming to curb drunk driving by giving potential offenders a look at the hardships they can face if they get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Part of TxDOT's “Drink. Drive. Got to Jail” campaign, the state agency will be touring Texas college campuses with its portable simulated jail cells in hopes of conveying the harsh reality of being arrested for driving while intoxicated.
“Summer celebrations often times involve alcohol and this is especially the time when we see a rise in fatalities on Texas roads,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “Unfortunately, the problem has gotten even deadlier over the Labor Day weekend.
“If your Labor Day activities involve alcohol, you should plan for a sober ride home before leaving your house. Otherwise, you run the risk of killing yourself and others, or going to jail. Either way, you can’t afford it.”
The campaign is slated through Sept. 2, according to Kelli Johnson, a spokesperson with the effort.
“During the campaign, select Texas colleges will host a simulated jail cell that allows visitors a harsh glimpse into the consequences of drunk driving,” Johnson said.
According to TxDOT statistics, 411 alcohol-related fatalities occurred in Texas during the 2012 summer months of May through August. Additionally, during the Labor Day holiday reporting period, alcohol-related traffic fatalities more than doubled from eight in 2011 to 19 in 2012.
“Drunk driving among college students continues to be a major problem,” Johnson said. “Last year, there were 7,096 vehicle crashes in Texas involving drivers between ages 18 and 24 who were under the influence of alcohol. Those crashes led to 2,181 serious injuries and 231 fatalities.”