Since 2000, at least one person has died each day in a traffic accident in Texas.
The statistic is a grim reminder to motorists who face the Christmas and New Year holiday season at a faster pace than normal.
As of November 7, 2000, 45,042 people were killed in crashes on Texas roadways, according to the state’s Department of Transportation spokesman Ken Roberts.
Last year there was an 11 percent increase in fatalities from the year before.
"These people are our spouses, children, friends and neighbors, and losing them to traffic deaths has a profound and permanent impact on their families," observed TxDOT deputy executive director John Barton. "This staggering number of fatalities needs to stop increasing every 24 hours, and taking personal responsibility for our driving habits is the first step."
The leading cause of traffic deaths continues to be drivers who are influenced by alcohol. To date, 13,549 alcohol-related fatalities have been recorded since that last day of no accidents in Texas in 2000.
“Fines, jail time, injury and death are just a few things that can happen to you when you’re caught DWI,” stated San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. “It’s just not worth it. If you’re going to drink – don’t drive. Just don’t do it.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) the following tips could save yours or someone else's life.
-If you drink, don't drive.
-If you must drive, try not doing it at night.
-Buckling seat belts is the best defense against drunk driver impacts.
-Create a safe distance between you and anyone you suspect is a drunk driver.
-Immediately report suspected drunk drivers to the police. Safely record the license plate number, car description and direction of travel. However, if calling 911 by cell, pull over safely to make the call.
-Don't let others that have been drinking drive.
-Do not try to stop the vehicle if you see a drunk driver.
-Continue to obey traffic signals and laws, even if you are trying to keep the driver in sight.
-Let the professionals handle the situation. Do not act like a police, fire or medical person if you are not authorized and trained.
-Underage drinkers are responsible for almost 20 percent of all alcohol consumed.
-Arrests for women driving under the influence in the U.S. increased by 29 percent from 1998 to 2007, while DWI arrests for men fell by eight percent. Men arrested during that period were four times that of women.
-The times of day with the highest number of drunk driving fatalities were midnight to 3 a.m. (28%), 9 p.m. to midnight (21%), and then 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (16%).
Enjoy this article? Receive free e-mail alerts when new articles are available from Jack Dennis. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.