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2009-08-27 digital edition

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2009-08-27 / General Stories

Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

With Labor Day approaching, many are ready to celebrate the end of summer and enjoy time with their family and friends. Unfortunately, the Labor Day holiday also brings an increase in crime - the crime of drunk driving on our highways. Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent Tonya Poncik reminds us that in Texas, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. In 2007, there were 1,292 alcoholrelated fatalities on Texas roadways. Approximately onethird of fatal crashes are alcoholrelated.

Impaired-driving crashes are not accidents - they are crimes. Nationally, there is approximately one fatal alcohol-related crash with BAC .08 or more every 45 minutes. Drunk driving is one of the most often committed and deadly crimes in this country. The victims are not always just the drunk drivers themselves. Innocent victims often include the driver's family and friends. Many children are killed in these crashes.

From August 21 - September 7, 2009, law enforcement will conduct the annual Impaired Driving National Enforcement Crackdown. The title of the campaign is Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. During this time, there will be no exceptions. Drunk drivers will be stopped and arrested. Violators often face jail time, loss of their drivers' licenses, or being sentenced to use an ignition interlock. Even if a driver survives an alcohol-related crash, the consequences can still virtually destroy your life.

Drunk-driving fatalities are four times higher during nighttime hours than during the daytime and more than twice as high on weekends compared to weekdays. Law enforcement will be on a mission day and night to arrest drunk drivers and save lives!

To avoid the tragedy caused by drunk driving, follow these safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

* If you are planning to drink alcohol with friends, designate a sober driver before going out - and give that person your keys.

* If you are impaired, do not drive. Call a taxi; use mass transit, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

* Promptly report impaired drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.

* Wear your seat belt while in a car, or use a helmet and protective gear when on a motorcycle, as these are your best defenses against impaired drivers.

* And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys - and help them get to where they are going safely.

Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

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