Can We Put a Face to Some Drunk Driving Victims? Texas Does.

texas-faces-of-dui-victimsWe live immersed in numbers and statistics. In the road safety world, for instance, it takes just a second to look up how many alcohol-related collisions there were last year in Texas, and how many of those resulted in death.

24,386 and 952.

But numbers don’t always get people’s attention; often do the opposite. Numbers are impersonal, remote. It’s hard to be connected to them.

Faces are different. We’re programmed by nature to respond to them.

A website sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation is bent on putting faces to those statistics. Faces of Drunk Driving tells the stories – and shows the photos – of drunk drivers, their victims, and their families in the state of Texas.

You’ll read the stories of:

  • Sean – a college junior who took a ride with a drunk friend and crashed. He’s now in a wheelchair and unable to speak.
  • Chilli – a 7-year-old who was riding in a car when a drunk driver in a stolen pickup hit it head-on. After 105 days in the hospital, she went home to a new life in a wheelchair.
  • James – who was drunk and speeding when he hit a tree. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He spent 3 weeks in critical care.
  • Robin – whose daughter was hit by a driver who had 3 times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.  Despite brain surgeries she never woke from her coma.

The faces are of people like us, at the best and also worst of times. The “before” photos give no hint of the suffering to come. Which is, of course, the point of the site. Drunk driving causes these normal, happy lives to be damaged and sometimes ended far too early.

Apart from the stories of the victims, there isn’t much text on the site. Just a short checklist telling what you can do to prevent the tragedies that the site portrays:

  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Be a designated driver
  • Plan ahead
  • Talk to family and friends, so they never drink and drive

Perhaps 952 drunk driving deaths is just a number. If you’re not good with numbers, visit this site. You’ll remember the faces.