The issue of underage drinking and driving is extremely relevant at this time of year with prom season starting this Saturday. But too often the effects of drinking and driving aren't felt until it's too late.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it," says John Blair who lost his youngest daughter, 19-year-old Rebecca to a drunk driver just one month ago. While traveling on West Loop 289 near 4th street, police say 22-year-old Bernabe Mendoza crossed the median and collided head-on with her car. A young life cut short and a loving father left with nothing but painful memories.
"You go in the house now and you think well you don't hear the bubbly personality anymore. You just miss her," says Blair.
Almost half of all traffic accidents in the United States are alcohol related. Drivers between 15 and 20 years-old are involved in more alcohol-related crashes than any other age group. Unfortunately those numbers are similar to accidents last year here in Lubbock.
"Of those 30 people that lost their lives 14 of them were under the influence of alcohol and drugs," says Sgt. Ronnie Sowell with the Lubbokc Police Department.
Following a year of alarming statistics traffic collisions for the first three months of this year are up 21% over 2003. Behind these numbers are real people whose lives have been changed forever by drinking and driving.
"I wish people would see the seriousness of this. People have to realize consequences are really great. They need to see it hurts people," says Blair.
On Wednesday, parents, teachers, and police, gathered to remind students to take precautions while celebrating this prom season. Local school districts have programs in place like Shattered Dreams that shows teens the reality of drinking and driving.