Special to the News-Standard
LUFKIN — As Labor Day approaches, TxDOT is reminding all Texans about the dangers of drunken driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced an increased enforcement period from Aug. 18 to Sept. 4. Texas law enforcement agencies are among those that will increase their efforts to pull over motorists suspected of drunk driving.
The increased enforcement period comes as a new law is set to take effect on Sept. 1 that will require someone convicted of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support if they kill a parent with young children.
“Too many people are killed on our roads each year — especially during holidays — due to impaired driving. These crashes are inexcusable and 100 percent preventable,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “If you spend time with friends or family and decide to drink, make the right decision and plan ahead for a sober ride by taking a rideshare, taxi, public transit or designated driver.”
The harsh reality is people continue to choose to drive after drinking. Last year, there were 345 alcohol-related traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday weekend alone, resulting in 20 fatalities and 62 serious injuries. Over the course of the year, a person was killed every 7 hours and 17 minutes in Texas because of an alcohol-related traffic crash, resulting in 1,203 people losing their lives.
Statewide, there was a 4 percent increase in DUI/alcohol related traffic fatalities from 2021 to 2022. In 2022, there were 24,652 alcohol-related crashes that resulted in 1,203 fatalities and 2,522 serious injuries.
In the nine-county Lufkin District in 2022, there were 5,126 traffic crashes, resulting in 77 fatalities and 318 serious injuries. Of those crashes, there were 314 alcohol-related traffic crashes, resulting in 15 fatalities and 51 serious injuries.
“Many East Texans choose to spend their Labor Day holiday boating on area lakes or going out with friends. Unfortunately, many times alcohol is involved in those events,” said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer. “There will be stiffer penalties beginning Sept. 1 for those who choose to drive under the influence. We hope this helps deter drinking and driving and all motorists will choose a sober ride.”
Drive Sober. No Regrets. 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.