AUSTIN, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Weekends are the deadliest time for alcohol-related crashes and fatalities and for many, a weekend to remember turns into a weekend to forget. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is launching the Weekend PASS (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) campaign to reduce incidences of drunk driving and encourage young adults to plan ahead for the weekend by getting a Weekend P.A.S.S. Person Appointed to Stay Sober.
Drinking and driving continues to be a national and statewide problem that has very serious and often deadly consequences. In 2009, 30.9 percent of the total traffic fatalities in Texas were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, according to TxDOT. While all 50 states have made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, many people, especially young adults, continue to get behind the wheel after drinking. In fact, alcohol related crashes are highest among young adults, with 54 percent of impaired drivers killed in crashes between the ages of 18 and 34.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20 percent of young adults reported having driven a vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol in the past year. According to NHTSA statistics, the number of fatal crashes in which alcohol is involved is more than double on the weekends than during the week.
"Our message on weekends, and every day, is clear: do not drink and drive," said Carol T. Rawson, P.E., TxDOT's Traffic Operations Division Director. "And if your plans do include drinking, remember to always have a P.A.S.S. – Person Appointed to Stay Sober."
Impaired driving on weekends is a very serious problem in Texas. According to TxDOT, 63 percent of all DUI crashes and 65 percent of fatal DUI crashes occur on the weekend. In response, law enforcement officials will be beefing up patrols across the state to crack down on intoxicated drivers. Beginning this spring break and through the summer, additional law enforcement will be on patrol over the weekends to get drunk drivers off the roads.
The Weekend PASS campaign aims to reduce the incidence of weekend impaired driving. TxDOT urges young adults to plan ahead and include a "person appointed to stay sober" in their weekend planning. When drinking be sure to designate a sober driver and if you are impaired, do not drive – call a taxi, use mass transit, contact your community's safe ride program or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
TxDOT has also included an interactive "P.A.S.S." to share with friends on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KnowWhenToPass).
The Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining nearly 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its approximately 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and preserving the value of the state's transportation assets. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Fan us on Facebook www.facebook.com/TxDOT. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/txdot.
SOURCE Texas Department of Transportation