‘Every nine hours someone dies from drunk driving in Texas’: TxDOT releases new campaign

Local News

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is urging Texans to consider the fatal impact that drunk driving can have on a person life with its new campaign “Faces of Drunk Driving,” according to a press release by TxDOT.

The release detailed the story about a 25-year-old young man who died in a drunk driving crash.

On Saturday morning, Aug. 9, 2014 at 6:45 a.m., two Bryan police officers came to the doorstep of Pam Todaro to deliver the news that her son had been killed in a drunk driving crash, the release explained.

Todaro’s son Dillion was driving home from a fish fry and died instantly when his truck ran off the road, hitting a brick mailbox and concrete pole. According to TxDOT, Dillon’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.16, which is twice the legal limit.

Dillion’s story resembles the many stories that are part of TxDOT’s “Faces of Drunk Driving” campaign which “puts real faces behind the statistics,” TxDOT states.

The release explained that last year there were 963 DUI-alcohol related fatalities meaning on average, one person in Texas dies every nine hours and six minutes as a result of a traffic crash involving alcohol.

”Drinking and driving can lead to tragic consequences that are 100% preventable,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “These consequences involve individuals who made the unfortunate decision to drink and drive along with many innocent victims of those decisions. “

Williams added, “This is why it is critical to always plan ahead for a sober ride through a designated driver, taxi, ride-share app or simply by staying where you are. Drinking and driving do not mix.”

One of the new ‘faces” of the campaign is 25-year-old Walter Tidwell who talks about his “regrets” in regards to driving drunk. Tidwell details the night he decided to get in his car and drive home alone after a night of drinking. According to TxDOT, Tidwell was pulled over after driving the wrong way down a one-way street before any fatal damage was done.

In addition, after three years of court appearances, Tidwell will undergo alcohol and drug offender courses, community, service and probation. The release said that Tidwell hopes his story will “convince other to drive sober.”

The release explained that in the Amarillo District in 2020, there were 414 DUI-alcohol related traffic crashes, resulting in 17 fatalities and 46 serious injuries. During the 2020 Labor Day holiday, there were six DUI-alcohol related traffic crashes, resulting in no fatalities and no serious injuries.

The release added, in the city of Amarillo in 2020, there were 225 DUI-alcohol related crashes, resulting in six fatalities and 26 serious injuries while in the city of Amarillo during the 2020 Labor Day holiday, there were five DUI-alcohol related traffic crashes, resulting in no fatalities and no serious injuries.

“The Faces of Drunk Driving is an important aspect of the Drive Sober. No Regrets. campaign which are key components of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. November 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways,” according to TxDOT.

TxDOT’s new campaign will feature events and stories around Texas with an exhibit of testimonials in English and Spanish. To view full video stories and other drunk driving facts click here.

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