More than 38 million Americans will be traveling over Memorial Day weekend, according to the American Automobile Association. The Bryan/College Station and Texas A&M Police Departments are warning drivers to travel safely and drive sober.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), every 20 minutes someone is hurt or killed in a vehicular crash involving alcohol. Bob Colwell, public information officer for TxDOT said 56 percent of young adult crashes in 2017 involved alcohol.
“The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, don’t ruin others around nor yourself because of alcohol and carelessness” said Colwell. “Drunk driving losses can affect everyone no matter who it is, whether its someone’s mother, father, brother or sister. They live the same lives we do.”
Colwell said 13,177 crashes occurred in Texas in 2017 because of alcohol. Those accidents resulted in 521 casualties, and 1,271 injuries. Approximately 38.12 percent of all traffic fatalities have been under the influence, while 9.2 percent of all DUI fatalities involved drivers with blood alcohol levels near twice the legal limit. Colwell said data also revealed 33 percent of all DUI fatalities were under 21 years old.
“When you drink and drive, you’re 100 times more at risk to be killed or to kill someone else on the road,” Colwell said. “It’s your future, don’t become a statistic.”
Memorial Day weekend is one of the holidays which results in the most nationwide drinking, according to ValuePenguin. Drunk driving fatalities are four times higher during Memorial Day Weekend than any other weekend.
Lt. Bobby Richardson of the TAMU Police Department has helped with projects on campus such as Carpool to limit DUIs in the area.
“Plan ahead before you go out and start drinking,” Lt. Richardson said. “Brazos County has a no refusal, no matter what weekend it is and with the methods to get home something like this is 100 percent preventable.”
According to Richardson, a DUI applies when a minor is impaired while driving and a DWI applies to any adult that is impaired or above the 0.08 blood alcohol content in Texas.
“Though the legal drinking limit is 0.08, people can get the idea misconstrued… If there is a probable cause and if the person blows below the limit but is impaired, the officer has a right to arrest” Lt. Richardson said.
Uber, Lyft and taxis are available for those who want a sober ride home. While Carpool offers services throughout the fall and spring semesters, it does not run in the summer, including Memorial Day weekend.