Category Archives: Drunk Driving

Creative Christmas Campaign Aims to Deter Drunk Driving In Austin, TX

It’s not every day a red limousine adorned with frolicking reindeer and topped with a green Christmas bow comes to town, but over the next couple of weeks, this “Sober Ride Sleigh” will be a common sight in Austin and other cities in Texas. In an effort to bridle drunk driving and promote using designated drivers, the Texas Department of Transportation recently decked out this limousine to kick-off a fifteen city pledge tour.

Offering those who take the Holiday P.A.S.S (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) pledge a chance to win a free trip to New York this New Year’s Eve, TxDot has been pleased with the response they’re seeing. One participant said she took the pledge less to the win the trip and more because she believes in the purpose of the campaign, “I did it because there’s too many people getting killed.”

Drunk driving continues to be a problem throughout the state as last year’s accident data confirms. According to TxDot, from December 1 through January 1, drunk drivers were responsible for 78 fatal accidents and another 776 alcohol-related crashes were reported across the state in that same period.

If drivers ignore these warnings and consume one too many mugs of spiked eggnogs during the holidays, they can expect harsh consequences for getting behind the wheel. First-time offenders will be subject to a minimum 90-day license suspension and can expect to pay up to $2,000 in fines and fees, among other repercussions.  Individuals in this position should consider contacting a DWI attorney to help reduce the drunk driving penalties.

The Mayor and Chief of Police of Odessa were among the first Texans to take the pledge. Beyond the consequences imposed by the state, the Odessa Chief of Police hopes people will consider the great personal cost of drunk driving. No one, he explains, wants to lose a child due to someone driving drunk.

San Antonio is the last stop of the Sober Ride Sleigh and the winner of the New Year’s Trip to New York will be announced on or before December 31.

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More Than One-Third of Designated Drivers are Impaired

Although many people who drink understand the benefits of finding a designated driver, a study conducted by the University of Florida showed that more than one-third of designated drivers had been drinking. Their blood alcohol content levels showed impairment that affected their driving. With enhanced DUI penalties in Dallas, Texas and across the nation, designated drivers should take note.

In the study of more than 1,000 people at bars in a Southeastern Florida town, about 50 percent registered a BAC of .05 percent or higher, the new recommended maximum for driving. The professor who oversaw the study observed that people often select a designated driver by who has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the night. They may look at the person’s history of driving as someone who has been able to drink and drive previously.

Designated Drivers In Dallas, TX

Photo Courtesy of stopalcoholdeaths via Flickr

The people tested in the study had an average age of 28, and most were Caucasian, male, college students. They submitted to an interview that lasted less than six minutes about their alcohol consumption and then took a breath test. Although the non-drivers registered a higher BAC level than the designated drivers, about 18 percent of the designated drivers had BAC levels at .05 percent or higher, with 17 percent registering lesser BAC levels.

While national campaigns have emphasized not consuming any alcohol at all before driving, the professor believes that the drivers think one or two drinks won’t affect driving ability. Other designated drivers might be chosen due to poor planning or at the end of the evening.

A designated driver might not know they need to drive and find out at the last minute. If they are charged with drunk driving, a DUI defense attorney might be able to mitigate the charges and accompanying penalties against them.