EVERY NINE HOURS, SOMEONE DIES FROM DRUNK DRIVING IN TEXAS
TxDOT urges Texans to consider the tragic impact before getting behind the wheel after drinking.
AUSTIN – No parent should ever receive the kind of devastating news that two Bryan police officers delivered to Pam Todaro one early Saturday morning. At 6:45 am on Aug. 9, 2014, they appeared on her doorstep to tell her that a drunk driving crash killed her 25-year-old son.
Her son Dillon was driving home from a fish fry and died instantly when his truck ran off the road, hitting a brick mailbox and concrete pole. His blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.16, twice the legal limit.
Dillon is just one of nearly a thousand people killed every year in drunk driving crashes in Texas. Stories like his are part of TxDOT’s “Faces of Drunk Driving” campaign that puts real faces behind the statistics.
Last year there were 963 DUI-alcohol-related fatalities. That means, on average, a person in Texas dies every nine hours and six minutes due to 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. It is why it is critical to always plan 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, 25-year-old Walter Tidwell, talks about those regrets. He shares details of the night he decided to hop in his car and drive home alone after a long night of drinking. Fortunately, officials pulled Tidwell over after driving the wrong way down a one-way street before hurting himself or someone else. After three years of court visits, he recently resolved the case and will undergo alcohol and drug offender courses, community service, and probation. Tidwell hopes his story will convince others to drive sober.
TxDOT’s new campaign will feature events around the state to share stories of Texans who deal with the consequences of a drunk driving crash every day. Events will include an exhibit of powerful testimonials on video in English and Spanish. You can find full video stories and other drunk driving facts at https://www.facesofdrunkdriving.com.
The Faces of Drunk Driving is an essential aspect of the “Drive Sober. No Regrets Campaign,” which are critical components of #EndTheStreakTX. A broader social media and word-of-mouth effort 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. Nov. 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.
Weekly Roadwork Report
TxDOT Atlanta District
I-30 – From FM 989 to Arkansas State Line, reconstructing and widening highway. Eastbound traffic moved to the outside lanes.
SH 8 – At Sulphur River, workers are replacing bridges.
SH 98 – At Anderson Creek, replacing the bridge and all traffic restricted to one lane with signal lights controlling traffic through the work zone.
SH 8 – At Sulphur River, crews are replacing bridges.
I-20 – At Lansing Switch Road underpass, constructing a new bridge over the Interstate. Lansing Switch Road is closed to traffic.
US 59 – From one mile south of FM 1997 to FM 1793, installing safety barrier cable. Daily lane closures.
SH 43 – At Kansas City Southern Railroad in Karnack, widening the bridge over the railroad. Workers are restricting all traffic to one lane with signal lights controlling traffic through the work zone.
US 80 – From east of Scottsville to Gregg County Line, repairing and resurfacing pavement.
US 59 – From SH 49 to two miles north of SH 49, repairing and resurfacing highway.
SH 49 – From Titus County Line to FM 144, repairing and resurfacing highway.
US 79 – From SH 149 to Rusk County Line, repairing and resurfacing highway.
US 59 (NE Loop) – From US 59 North to US 79 East, repairing and resurfacing highway. On and off-ramps at US 59 and NE Loop closed, traffic detoured accordingly.
SH 49 – From FM 1735 to Morris County Line, repairing and resurfacing highway.
SH 49 – From Bus. 271 to Mount Pleasant City Limits, repairing and resurfacing highway.
Child Passenger Safety Events set in August, September
PARIS – Texas Department of Transportation personnel and its local agency partners will conduct three child passenger safety events in August and September 2021 at three different locations in Northeast Texas.
The dates, times, and locations of these events are
Aug. 26, 9:00 am to Noon, 421 East Industrial Drive, Sulphur Springs
Sept. 3, 1 to 4:00 pm, Mt. Vernon Fire Department (330 Hwy. 37)
Sept. 24, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, pavilion adjacent to Clarksville City Hall (800 West Main).
TxDOT personnel and representatives from partner agencies will be on hand to help parents evaluate their current child passenger seats and other safety factors.
“Parents can come by with their vehicle, child, and car seat, and we will help them make sure their seat is safe and installed correctly,” said Monica Yates, TxDOT traffic funding specialist based in Paris. “We also need to know your child’s weight and height, so please bring that info with you.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people do not install three out of four child passenger seats correctly. Common child safety seat errors include:
- Installing the seat too loosely.
- Putting the harness straps through the wrong slots.
- Leaving harness straps too loose.
- Positioning the chest clip incorrectly.
- Using the wrong seat belt path.
Drivers should refer to their specific car seat manufacturer’s manual for instructions on installing a safety seat. The vehicle owner’s manual also includes information on the proper placement of car seats and good use of the seat belt or LATCH system.
More information on these events and child passenger safety is available by calling Yates at (903) 737-9292.
Weekly Roadwork Report
TxDOT Paris District
Here’s a look at work planned in Franklin and Hopkins Counties during the week of Aug. 23, 2021. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure, or other unforeseen issues. Motorists are advised to remain alert and pay special attention to all signs, barricades, and traffic controls, and reduce their speed as they approach and travel through work zones. They should also avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating, drinking, or car audio or navigation systems.
Delta, Lamar, Red River Counties
Contacts: Paris Area Office (903) 784-1357; Delta Co. Maintenance (903) 395-2139; Lamar Co. Maintenance (903) 785-4468; Red River Co. Maintenance (903) 427-3561.
US 271 at Loop 286 interchange, Lamar County: Watch for lane and ramp closures while crews mill and place hot mix pavement. Please use an alternate route when possible to minimize traffic congestion in this area.
US 79 at Loop 286, Lamar County: Watch for workers and equipment while crews perform slope repair work.
FM 38, Lamar County: from US 82 to US 82. Watch for temporary lane and shoulder closures while crews improve drainage structures and upgrade bridge rail and metal-beam guard fence.
FM 195, Red River County from the Lamar County line to SH 37, watch for temporary lane and shoulder closures while crews improve drainage structures and replace bridge rail. The shoulder at Little Pine Creek will remain closed while they complete the rail work.
FM 1487, Red River County: from FM 909 to FM 910. Watch for temporary lane closures while crews widen and rehabilitate the existing pavement and improve drainage structures.
FM 911, Red River County: from BU 82K (Avery) to FM 44. Watch for work zones and drive safely through construction areas as crews perform the final.
US 82, Red River County: from FM 1159 to the Bowie County line, watch for daytime lane closures while crews place the final hot mix surface.
Hopkins, Franklin Counties
Contacts: Sulphur Springs Area Office (903) 885-9514; Franklin Co. Maintenance (903) 537-4976; Hopkins Co. Maintenance (903) 885-4031.
FM 71, Hopkins County: From FM 3236 to Sulphur Bluff. Watch for lane closures and short traffic delays as crews work on rehabilitating the roadway.