AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Football season is a time that Texans look forward to each year, but game days often mean heavy drinking followed by irresponsible behavior—drinking and driving—causing an increase in crashes across the state.
So the Texas Department of Transportation is tackling the issue with a football season-specific campaign called "Know When to P.A.S.S." (Person Appointed to Stay Sober). The goal is to increase awareness of the consequences of game-day drinking and to encourage fans to pass the keys to a sober driver when they plan to drink.
"Texans love football and love to cheer on their teams with friends and family—often times while drinking," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT traffic operations director. "We want to be sure fans 'Know When to P.A.S.S.' the keys to a designated driver. The best way to celebrate a great game of football is to plan ahead and, if you plan to drink, plan on having a sober ride home."
Game-day drinking and driving, whether to celebrate a professional or college football game, is a serious problem in Texas and across the nation. A University of Colorado study found that college home football games are associated with a 13 percent increase in arrests for drunk driving. Also, in Texas, alcohol is accounting for more and more of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In 2006, driving under the influence of alcohol accounted for 26.5 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In 2011, this percentage increased to 34.8 percent.
Football game days are among the heaviest for alcohol consumption, according to a 2007 University of Texas study. And, a 2009 TxDOT research report shows that 45 percent of Texans who drink while at a football watching party report driving home. In 2011, more than 1,400 DUI alcohol-related crashes in Texas occurred on football game days when a Texas team was playing—accounting for approximately 6 percent of all DUI alcohol-related crashes in the state.
This football season, TxDOT's "Know When to P.A.S.S." initiative will be visiting the following cities and football games across the state to remind fans that if drinking is in their playbook, they should pass their keys to a sober receiver:
- El Paso: October 29–30
- Lubbock: November 1–3 (The University of Texas vs. Texas Tech)
- Dallas: November 5–6
- San Antonio: November 11-13 (Rock n' Roll Marathon)
- Houston: November 15–16
- College Station: November 17-18 (Sam Houston State vs. Texas A&M)
- Austin: November 22–27 (Texas Christian University vs. The University of Texas)
- Rio Grande Valley: November 29-30
Fans can follow the "Know When to Pass" truck on its journey by liking the "Texans Know When to Pass" Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KnowWhenToPass.
Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Fan us on Facebook www.facebook.com/txdot. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/txdot.
SOURCE Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)