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Drunk Driving? Texas Takes a P.A.S.S.

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Don't drink and driveAll kinds of public awareness campaigns exist across the United States to combat drunk driving. Let’s take a look at a new initiative in Texas that’s focusing on the designated driver.

Pamela Cosel, a digital content producer for KXAN, gives us a quick summary:

The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a new campaign designed to make weekend drinkers take action for responsible drinking and driving through its new ‘Weekend PASS’ campaign.

‘Person Appointed to Stay Sober’ is a message that asks drinkers to appoint a sober person at the beginning of the night of drinking.

It’s a classic approach, and one that can have a great effect if heeded. The press release for the campaign couples this new awareness program with escalating enforcement for a solid “one-two punch” against drunken driving:

‘Our message on weekends, and every day, is clear: do not drink and drive,’ said Carol T. Rawson, P.E., TxDOT’s Traffic Operations Division Director.  ‘And if your plans do include drinking, remember to always have a P.A.S.S. – Person Appointed to Stay Sober.’

Impaired driving on weekends is a very serious problem in Texas. According to TxDOT, 63 percent of all DUI crashes and 65 percent of fatal DUI crashes occur on the weekend. In response, law enforcement officials will be beefing up patrols across the state to crack down on intoxicated drivers. Beginning this spring break and through the summer, additional law enforcement will be on patrol over the weekends to get drunk drivers off the roads.

TxDOT is also utilizing social media to spread its message with an interactive Facebook Page for P.A.S.S. to help reach more drivers, particularly younger ones. (At the time of this writing, it had just over 400 “likes.”)

It’s hardly a surprise that car accidents involving drunk driving experience a spike on the weekends. Most people are done with their work/school week, most big parties and events occur on the weekends, and the tradition of the cocktail after work on Fridays is alive and well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 20% of young adults reported having gotten behind the wheel within two hours of drinking alcohol over the past year. Additionally, fatal crashes involving alcohol more than double on the weekends.

Whether you’re in Texas, Colorado or anywhere else on the planet, take a P.A.S.S. if you’ve had something to drink.

Image by H.L.I.T., used under its Creative Commons license.

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