Troopers Looking for Drivers Under the Influence

12/20/2018

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers, along with other law enforcement agencies, will increase their patrols on the state’s roadways this holiday season.  Texas leads the nation in  the number of alcohol related traffic deaths and troopers want to  remove impaired drivers off our roadways to make it safer for other motorists.

Every year, 40 per cent of traffic fatalities in Texas are the result of drinking and driving.  Texas leads the nation in the number of traffic fatalities, which have risen every year since 2010.  The state has recorded at least one traffic fatality every day since Nov. 7, 2000.  In 2017, there were 2,469 alcohol-related crashes in Texas during the holiday season. Those crashes killed 96 people and seriously injured another 202.

“We will have all available troopers working during the holiday season because of the increase in traffic and making sure that drivers obey our laws,” said Texas DPS Sgt. Robbie Barrera.  She urged motorists to avoid drinking and driving.  “A night on the town is just not worth it if you wind up causing a crash that kills or injures someone.”  

In addition, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) has created a program called, Plan While You Can, which encourages drivers statewide to plan for a sober ride before enjoying festivities where drinking may occur. TxDot’s website:  https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/media-center/psas/drunk-driving/holiday-pass.html offers good advice on making it home safely during the holidays.  You are also encouraged to go to www.SoberRide.org if you’re going out and need to plan a sober ride home.

In recent years, the number of opportunities to find safer ways to get home after attending a party or an event have increased significantly.  Plan ahead by utilizing ride services such as Uber, Lyft, taxicabs, friends or relatives, which are all much safer means of making it home rather than getting behind the wheel impaired. 

Driving under the influence is not only dangerous to yourself and everyone on the road but also costly if you’re stopped and arrested.  According to TxDot, drivers under the influence of alcohol could face up to $17,000 in fines, fees, and could lose their license.

“Obtaining a lawyer and dealing with court costs, retrieving your vehicle, keeping your license to drive, maintaining your job and dealing with the expenses of increased auto insurance all make for a very unpleasant experience,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas.

Troopers say the majority of intoxicated drivers are pulled over for violation of traffic laws that include speeding, changing lanes without a signal, failure to maintain a single marked lane and sometimes, driving too slow. 

DPS officials offer these recommendations for safe travel on Texas roadways this holiday season: 

  • Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • Slow down - especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using a portable wireless device to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
 

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