An unfortunate side-effect of the holidays each year is an increase in the amount of drunk driving, and therefore an increase in collisions caused by drunk drivers.
This year, as in most years, law enforcement is stepping up efforts to get drunk drivers off the road. Some of the methods were detailed in a Dallas Morning News article. Here are excerpts:
Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Last year, between Dec. 1 and New Years Day, there were 2,462 alcohol-related crashes in the state, resulting in 842 serious injuries and 78 fatalities.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s Holiday P.A.S.S. campaign — Person Appointed to Stay Sober — is a call to action to help make the roads safer.
“We’re asking drivers to plan ahead and give the gift of a sober ride home,” said TxDOT spokeswoman Veronica Beyer. “The last thing you want to hear about is a family member not making it home because of drunk driving.
In addition to the preventative awareness campaign, local law enforcement is preparing to increase patrols.
As part of the Dallas Police Department’s annual “Home for the Holidays” operation, additional officers have joined the year-round DWI patrol squad through Jan. 2.
“Our No. 1 goal is for people to comply, and compliance means do not drive drunk,” said Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz, who oversees the traffic division.
Frisco police will continue their zero tolerance approach to driving under the influence with no-refusal weekends throughout the holiday season, said Sgt. Brad Merritt. Suspected intoxicated drivers arrested in Frisco who refuse to take a breathalyzer test will be required by a judge’s order to provide a blood sample. Officers plan to increase patrols on New Year’s Eve.
In addition to participating in Tarrant County’s no-refusal program, Arlington police will increase traffic patrols starting Monday and ending Jan. 2, spokeswoman Tiara Richard said.
AAA insurance’s Tipsy Tow service provides a complimentary ride and vehicle tow for drivers who have consumed alcohol on New Year’s Eve. You do not need to be insured by AAA to call for a pickup, but there are some parameters.
Tipsy Tow is not a taxi service. They won’t pick you up and take you to another drinking establishment. Nor will they tow your car if you’ve run out of gas or if your car isn’t working.
“We really encourage this as a last resort only,” said AAA Texas spokesman Doug Shupe. “Plan ahead to have a designated driver ahead of time.”
IN THE KNOW: Tipsy Tow
Ask for a Tipsy Tow by calling 1-800-222-4357.