It’s Summer in Texas. That Means Barbecue, Beaches, and a New Anti Drunk Driving Campaign.

texas-summer-bbqAs the Texas summer passes its peak, music festivals, rodeos, and a panoply of community celebrations are underway, or soon will be.  Moreover, Labor Day weekend is not far off. That means law enforcement officials are worried about an activity that seems to accompany these revels every year: drunk driving.

The concern is real. Last year in Texas 336 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol, and another 680 were injured.  That’s why TxDOT has announced a new Texas drunk driving campaign designed to bring down this number and make the summer safer for everyone on the road.

The campaign has two parts: a message and a boost in enforcement. The message is nothing new –TxDOT campaigns have featured it for years: Drink, Drive, Go to Jail. This spring TxDOT did add a message aimed at young Hispanic males, a group that is now disproportionately involved in alcohol-related road fatalities.  The message read: Drink, Drive, Go to Jail. De Veras.

Texas “DWI Not So Fun House” – photo via @TxDOT

TxDOT will also be taking its “DWI Not So Fun House” on the road, and presenting it at various outdoor events. The vintage-style carnival trailer features hands-on exhibits that let visitors try their hand at impaired driving using special goggles that blur the vision in a manner similar to the effects of alcohol. The attraction includes various interactive games that drive home the message that no one is capable of driving drunk safely.

From August 21 until September 7th police forces across the state will be concentrating on the second part of the campaign: enforcement. They will be stepping up patrols and other anti-drunk driving efforts to take more DWIs off the road. Sobriety checkpoints are not permitted in the state, but any other means to catch impaired drivers will be used.

While it’s good that Texas rolls out its anti drunk driving campaign each year, we look forward to the summer when enough Texas drivers have gotten the message so that the information in the campaigns won’t be news to anyone. Meanwhile, we hope that these efforts reduce the number of alcohol-related road fatalities in the state.