TxDOT increasing enforcement on Friday to curb drunk driving

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
East bound lane rises above on the I-69C and I-2 interchange on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

As Labor Day inches nearer, the Texas Department of Transportation is urging drivers to avoid drunk driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an increased enforcement period beginning Friday through Sept. 4. As a result, Texas law enforcement agencies will be increasing their efforts to stop motorists suspected of drunk driving.

“Too many people are killed on our roads each year — especially during holidays — due to impaired driving. These crashes are inexcusable and 100% preventable,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said in a news release. “If you spend time with friends or family and decide to drink, make the right decision and plan ahead for a sober ride by taking a rideshare, taxi, public transit or designated driver.”

According to TxDOT, a person in Texas was killed as a result of a DUI- or alcohol-related crash every seven hours and 17 minutes over the course of a year — resulting in a total of 1,203 deaths.

Last year, there were a total of 26,623 traffic crashes, resulting in 130 fatalities and 688 serious injuries in TxDOT’s Pharr District, which includes Brooks, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, Starr, Willacy, and Zapata counties.

According to TxDOT, 1,310 of those crashes were DUI or alcohol related, resulting in 49 deaths and 130 serious injuries. During the 2022 Labor Day season, there were 20 DUI- or alcohol-related crashes. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and only 3 serious injuries.

The announcement of the increased enforcement coincides with a new law going into effect on Sept. 1. Texas House Bill 393 will require motorists who are convicted of intoxicated manslaughter to pay restitution in the form of child support if a parent or guardian of young children is killed.

“Drive Sober. No Regrets. is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths,” the news release read. “Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.”