Sunday, July 21, 2024

TxDOT spotlights impact, loss from drunk driving

An average of 89 Texans were killed every month in alcohol-related crashes in 2023

Posted

AUSTIN – We all know that drunk driving is dangerous, and yet people still choose to get behind the wheel impaired, causing on average 65 alcohol-related crashes every day last year on Texas roadways. Three Texans died daily in 2023 as a result — their lives extinguished at the hands of those who never thought they would be responsible for a roadside tragedy. 

Making the choice to drive drunk instead of finding a sober ride home can lead to serious consequences, including a lifetime of anguish. This is the painful reality for Charles and Shenica Trammell of San Antonio, who will never see their child again.   

“We taught our son to serve others, not knowing that he would actually die while doing so,” said Shenica Trammel. Her 20-year-old son and Texas Wesleyan University football player Charles Jr. was killed while changing a friend’s tire on the side of the road in Fort Worth.  

“All because someone made the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking,” she said.

Shenica and her husband, Charles, are among the faces seen and voices heard in an exhibit traveling across Texas to showcase first-person testimonial videos by survivors, offenders and those who’ve suffered the loss of a loved one to a drunk driver.    

July and August are the calendar’s two deadliest months for drunk-driving fatalities. Heading into these months, TxDOT’s “Drive Sober. No Regrets” campaign is spotlighting these stories of grief and remorse to emphasize the importance of driving sober and the consequences of drinking and driving.  

“Drunk driving can change lives forever,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “In the worst case, families lose loved ones or face devastating injuries. But even when there isn’t a crash, the decision to drink and drive can ruin careers and relationships. That’s why we want everyone to know how important and easy it is to always plan ahead for a sober ride.”

Beyond the possibility of taking a life – including your own – driving impaired and getting a DWI can result in time-consuming legal hassles and fines and fees up to $17,000.   

The “Drive Sober. No Regrets” campaign’s “Faces of Drunk Driving” initiative overlaps with heightened law enforcement efforts to keep Texas roads safe during the Independence Day holiday. From June 21 through July 7, increased patrols aim to reduce the number of DUI-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities.    

Even though the number of drunk driving deaths on Texas roadways in 2023 is down 15% from 2022, we must strive to continue that trend.

TxDOT’s Drive Sober. No Regrets. campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.