Texas is number one nationwide for alcohol related traffic deaths. 1,709 people were killed last year alone. This holiday, area law enforcement will forfeit a holiday break to be out in full-force.
Local DPS alone will have 20 extra troopers in the days surrounding Christmas and New Years. On the entire South Plains, there will be hundreds. They want everyone to know they'll be watching. Corporal John Gonzalez says, "Hopefully as a deterrent to be seen and observed, so they won't speed, so they will wear their seatbelts and they won't drink and drive."
With increased traffic and increased access to alcohol over the holidays, Gonzalez encourages everyone to be responsible. Designate a driver, call a taxi, or call a friend who hasn't been drinking and don't' be afraid to take keys if you're hosting a party. Gonzalez says, "Don't get out there and drink and drive. These car crashes we've had recently all may be alcohol related."
At least three wrecks over the weekend are suspected of being alcohol related. One involved a driver going the wrong way on the interstate, as did the wreck that took the life of Ray Irvin last weekend. If you encounter such a situation, Gonzalez offers this advice: "Moving off the shoulder, move completely out of the roadway. Let them go by and we have cell phones, get of the road and call 9-1-1 if you need to."
If you need some help imagining the consequences of drunk driving, just watch for some hard-hitting public service announcements that will hit airwaves this week.