If you're not sober, then you should not be getting behind the wheel of your car. That is the message the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) is sending to the public.
"Just think about those who aren't here this summer celebrating special occasions or going on vacations with their families because their lives were cut short," TxDot public information officer Darah Waldrip said.
Waldrip said more than a thousand DWI-related deaths happened statewide just last year.
"There's absolutely no reason these wrecks should happen," Early's chief of police David Mercer said.
Chief Mercer said he does not understand why such incidents occur, despite the education and prevention efforts. His only guess is the arrogance of being invincible. "They think they can handle a few drinks or they think it doesn't affect them."
To combat this issue, TxDot promoted the "Faces of Drunk Driving" campaign, in which they feature DWI victims and share their stories. They also discussed prevention tips.
"Plan how you're going to get home," Waldrip said. "That means making that plan before you start drinking. Get a sober friend to drive, and that means someone who's had nothing to drink."
Members of TxDot displayed flags at Tuesday's press conference to honor and represent some of the Texan victims who lost their lives due to drunk driving accidents.
"We just got to keep educating people and keep trying to help people understand the dangers of what can happen," Chief Mercer said."Not everybody dies from a drunk driving accident. People are scarred for life or paralyzed or burned; there's just so many different outcomes on a DWI accident that it's just horrible for the victims."
"The bottom line is every person who drives a vehicle has the responsibility to make sure that they're sober before they get into their car," Waldrip said.
To hear more about and from the victims, you can visit http://www.facesofdrunkdriving.com/.