Tex DOT Leads Drunk Driving Awareness Campaign Targeting High School Students - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/12/03

Tex DOT Leads Drunk Driving Awareness Campaign Targeting High School Students

A Lubbock jury sent a serious message to repeat drinking and driving offenders yesterday. The jury sentenced 46-year-old David Taylor to life in prison after receiving his seventh DWI conviction.

Prosecutor Sunshine Stanek, with the Lubbock District Attorney's Office, says the jury's decision sends a strong message to those who choose to drink and drive. "I think that Lubbock jury told him we are not gonna give you chance after chance after chance. You've had those chances and now it's time toget you off the road and out from behind the wheel," says Stanek.

Fortunately, David Taylor's decision to drink and drive never injured anyone. But the Texas Department of Transportation says Texas leads the nation in fatalties due to drunk driving. Chances are you know someone who's been involved in a drunk driving accident, or maybe you've been in one yourself. It's a problem that seems to touch so many lives. 

Now the Texas Department of Transportation has launched a campaign with a face and a message they're hoping texas teens will never forget. 

Jacqui Saburido's face and powerful message have been seen by millions on television across Texas. Jacqui suffered severe burns when a drunk driver slammed into her car four years ago. Two of her friends died in the crash. The drunk driver, 18 year old Reggie Stephy is now in prison. This story of shattered lives and unfulfilled dreams will now be shown to students in classrooms across Texas.

"When Tx-DOT wanted to step up their campaign against drinking and driving one of the things that we had to do was find out how the young people felt and what was going to actually impact them becuase more than half of the traffic fatalities in texas involve alcohol," says Penny Mason with Tx-DOT. 

Penny Mason with Tx-DOT says those statistics sparked the release of this documentary to discourage under age drinking. Both Jacqui and Reggie agreed to participate in the project.

"I went from a football field on Friday to a prison cell on Sunday. It was that quick, that quick," says Reggie Stephy. 

"It's very difficult because in the past before the accident, when all the doors were open for a regular job person and in my case it's harder becasue most of the doors are closed now," says Saburido. It's an attempt by Tx-DOT to capture the attention of high school students. "It has to be bold and it has to be hard hitting," says Mason.

Mason hopes the video will show students the harsh reality and consequences of drinking and driving. "Hopefully this will help reduce the number of fatalities or drunk driving incidents in Texas," says Mason.

The videos will be distributed to schools next week and shown after spring break to high school students. 

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