Every year during the holidays, impaired and reckless drivers cause unthinkable – and preventable – tragedies on the roadways. Last year, 259 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Through the new year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making a nationwide push with their Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
In addition, law enforcement patrols will be increased at this time of the year. Not only is drunk driving dangerous and often deadly, drivers who drive under the influence can face jail time, hefty fines, and lose their license.
Tips for Driving Safe
The Texas Department of Public Safety provided several tips for traveling safely during the holiday season
- Don’t drink and drive. Use a cab, ride-sharing service, or have a sober designated driver get you home.
- Slow down, especially in inclement weather, construction areas, and in heavy traffic.
- Eliminate distractions, which includes using electronic devices like cell phones while driving.
- Buckle up – everyone in the vehicle.
- Slow down and move over for police, fire, and EMS vehicles as well as tow trucks assisting motorists on the road.
- Don’t drive while drowsy or tired. Getting behind the wheel with poor sleep in the past 24 hours can have similar effects to driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Be sure your vehicle is properly maintained, and check the weather prior to beginning your road trip.
In 2015, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers made 466 DWI arrests, issued 9,174 speeding citations, and 893 seat belt/child safety seat citations during the eight-day Christmas/New Year holiday period. Keep yourself, your family and friends, and fellow motorists safe this holiday season by obeying traffic laws and driving sober.
Drunk Driving Statistics
The following information regarding impaired driving is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- In 2014, 9,967 people died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States.
- Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities decreased by 1.4 percent from 2013 to 2014.
- Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities have accounted for 30 to 32 percent of all crash fatalities since 1995.
- Over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2014 (CDC).