City, county and state law enforcement agencies are stepping up the effort to get drunk drivers off Texas roads between now and Labor Day. Federal grant money covers the cost of overtime pay for officers to enforce the "Drink, Drive, Go to Jail" campaign. Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Deidrea Samuels says her agency hopes drivers get the message.
“It is basically to raise awareness about what happens when you choose to get behind the wheel when you're drinking,” Samuels says. “So, of course, we're trying to deter people from getting in the car after drinking.”
Samuels points out that one-third of all Texas traffic deaths last year involved alcohol. She says it's not that TxDOT doesn’t want you to have fun.
"We're telling them we want you to drink and have a great time,” she says, “but know that you have to have a designated driver, or stay where you are.”
She says drunk driving is a major problem in Texas.
“Every 20 minutes there is a traffic crash involving someone who is driving under the influence,” Samuels says. “That, to me, is staggering.”
During last year's Labor Day weekend in Texas, 16 of the 35 fatalities were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol.