Texas Leading the Way on Tackling Game Day Drinking and Driving

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Campaign launching this football season to raise awareness about football game day drinking and driving

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"The correlation between game days and increased crashes and fatalities on the road is too great to ignore,” said Carol T. Rawson P.E., TxDOT Traffic Operations Director.

Football game days are among the heaviest days for alcohol consumption. (University of Texas Study, Alcohol Use and Collegiate Sports, November, 2007). Starting this football season, TxDOT is taking the lead in tackling this issue by raising awareness of the dangers of game day drinking across the state amongst fans and their loved ones.

When alcohol’s in the line-up, the odds are stacked against you. In 2008, nearly 12,000 people were killed in U.S. highway crashes involving alcohol, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials. In Texas, 30.9 percent of the total traffic fatalities were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol in 2009, according to TxDOT. These figures increase over the weekend and on football game days. In fact, college home football games are associated with a 13 percent increase in arrests for drunk driving, according to a 2009 University of Colorado Study, College Football Games and Crime. In 2009, there were 27,237 DUI crashes in Texas and 1,547 (6 percent) occurred on football game days when a Texas team was playing.

Game day drinking and driving, whether at a professional or college game, is a very serious problem in Texas and across the nation. A recent New England Journal of Medicine study found that driving fatalities increased 41 percent after the Super Bowl telecast and in Texas, 45 percent of those who drink at a football watching party report driving home.

“The correlation between game days and increased crashes and fatalities on the road is too great to ignore,” said Carol T. Rawson P.E., TxDOT Traffic Operations Director. “We hope that through this campaign we will not only raise awareness of the dangers associated with drinking and driving on game days but also encourage people to know when to pass their keys and get a safe ride home.”

Texas is leading the charge among states by tackling this problem through a statewide awareness initiative aimed at reducing the incidences of game day drinking and driving. TxDOT wants to encourage fans to enjoy the big games, but to be responsible when it comes to game day drinking and know when to pass. Always designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking and if you are impaired, do not drive – call a taxi, use mass transit, contact the community safe ride program, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely or simply stay where you are.

TxDOT will house important information, including videos, on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/KnowWhenToPass) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/KnowWhenToPass) and TxDOT officials will be Tweeting on the issue.

This campaign tackles a very serious problem here in Texas. TxDOT hopes this new approach will raise public awareness on drinking and driving on football game days and motivate people to pass their keys to a designated receiver. For every set of keys passed there’s another potential accident intercepted.

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 http://www.txdot.gov. Fan us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/txdot. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/txdot.

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Stacy Thedford
Fleishman-Hillard
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