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Memorial Day

TYLER COUNTY — During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend in Texas, there were a total of 360 driving under the influence (DUI) alcohol-related traffic crashes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Those crashes killed 16 people and seriously injured another 34. 

All of these crashes were 100 percent preventable. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is teaming up with TxDOT to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Even one drink can be one too many. 

As people head to the lake, beach, or host a barbecue, they may choose to drink alcohol or use impairing drugs. Texas law enforcement officers will be out in force looking for impaired drivers. For people that choose to not drive sober, their chance for being arrested for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) immensely increases.

“We understand people are looking for a reason to celebrate, and we want our community members to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, but we also want to impress upon everyone the importance of safe driving,” said Tyler County AgriLife Extension Family and Community Health agent Shannon Benton. “If you’ve been drinking, make the right choice to find a sober driver to get you, and your friends, home safely.”

According TxDOT, there were 958 fatalities caused by impaired driving in Texas during 2020 alone. This is why AgriLife Extension is working with TxDOT to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but also a matter of life and death. Help AgriLife Extension and TxDOT spread the word this Memorial Day weekend: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. 

“Drunk drivers are a continuing problem on our nation’s roads, especially around Memorial Day weekend,” Benton said. 

“People need to know that they can go out for a night of fun and return home safely by ensuring they have a sober driver to take them home. Don’t be the reason someone—including yourself—doesn’t get home. 

If selected as the designated driver, make sure to keep that promise of safety to passengers. It can be a long day and even into the night, but people are counting on the designated driver—not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of designated driver seriously. Lives are depending on it.

Party with a Plan

Before ever heading out, it is vital to plan ahead. Be honest about consuming alcohol: Know whether if drinking alcohol is planned or not. Follow these tips to ensure that all partygoers stay safe: 

•Remember: It is never OK to drink and drive. Even if only one alcoholic beverage was consumed, designate a sober driver—or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely. 

•If available, use the community’s sober ride program. 

•Impaired driving IS an emergency. Call 911 to report a suspected impaired driver.

•Have a friend who has been drinking and is about to drive? Take their keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely or allow for them to stay the night. 

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