AUSTIN, Texas--August 31, 2013: As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, the Texas Department of Transportation and statewide law enforcement officials remind motorists to drive sober while behind the wheel or else face the harsh consequences of driving while impaired.
During last year's Labor Day holiday period, 330 alcohol-related traffic crashes led to 19 deaths on Texas roadways, more than doubling the 2011 total of eight. More than half (53.1 percent) of those fatalities were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol.
In an effort to curb alcohol-related crashes, TxDOT's "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail." campaign continues through Sept. 2. The campaign aims to educate the public about the harsh consequences of impaired driving, and runs concurrently with a nationwide law-enforcement crackdown on drinking and driving. The law enforcement initiative is being coordinated and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In Texas, the legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration). However, drivers can be arrested with a BAC below .08 when a law enforcement officer has probable cause, based on the driver's behavior. Penalties for DWI include jail time and fines up to $17,000.
Last year in Texas, 1,170 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes and more than 9,400 others were seriously injured.