In December 2012, there were more than 10,000 fatal car wrecks in the U.S. due to drunk driving

Of that number, 44% of them were in the state of Texas. President Barack Obama has declared December, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

"It's been really busy today. It's been really busy just in general," said driver Steven Bell, as he refers to Tyler traffic.

Bell says as streets get busier this time of year, so does he in staying alert.

"If I see something that is beyond the pale and I say, Ok, that person is obviously drunk or something's wrong then yeah, I've called the police before," said Bell.

Calling 911 is one safety tip organizations like Next Step offer during this month especially, as it works to keep East Texans aware of driving dangers.

"One of our jobs as a coalition is we're really community based, we're looking at community solutions and community approaches to solve things that are local problems that we have," said Lauren Barnes, Next Step Community Solutions.

In December 2012, more than 10, 000 people were killed in drunk-driving related accidents and nearly half of those accidents were in Texas--

"With holidays, there's a lot more traffic on the roads and there's a lot more access to alcohol where there's a lot more functions," said Barnes.

Of those crashes in 2012, nearly half of all the drunk drivers killed were under the age of 30.

"One of our big things with National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is wanting parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of under-age drinking," said Barnes.

That's a task Steven says he takes very seriously, even though he doesn't have any kids of his own.

"I do have a younger sister, she's just out of high school. She's around that age too where she's not legal to be doing anything like that, she lives in Henderson but I'll make that 45 minute drive if that means she's making it home, you know," said Bell.

With these staggering statistics, the East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition would like to offer some tips to ensure safe roadways this holiday season:

  • Always plan ahead for a sober driver, using a taxi or public transportation. If you decide on a designated driver, have cash and the local taxi's information just in case.
  • Don't let someone behind the wheel who is impaired. Calmly talk to the driver and explain that you don't want them to hurt themselves or others. If you can, try to take their keys. If all else fails, call the police. It's better to have the police handle the situation and lead to a possible arrest than to have your friend injure or kill themselves or someone else.
  • Call 911 to report a suspected an impaired driver. If you suspect a drunk or drugged driver, stay away from the car and take note of the license place and car color and model. Call the police to give them the car information and location and direction the car is headed.
  • Talk to your loved ones about the dangers of impaired drinking.


Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph





Last updated on: 2014-12-22 | Link to this post