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Drunk Driving Victim Shares Her Story to Warn Others about Dangers of Drinking and Driving

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‘Plan While You Can' campaign aims to reduce crashes, save lives
leading up to Labor Day weekend

Laura Gonzalez celebrates her birthday every Labor Day weekend,
commemorating the start of a new year and the end of summer alongside
friends and family. Her husband Rico, however, will forever be absent
from these celebrations as he was killed when he was hit head-on by a
drunk driver, leaving behind his wife of less than a year and countless
other family members and friends.

"We were just starting our lives together," Laura said. "We had
everything to look forward to — our careers, a home of our own, starting
a family. All of those hopes were ruined in an instant. The life we
dreamed of for our family would only remain a dream. A drunk driver took
all of that away from us."

Laura now shares her story through the Texas Department of
Transportation's "Plan While You Can" campaign to communicate the
devastating consequences of drinking and driving. The goal is to save
lives and decrease alcohol-related crashes, with special emphasis during
holidays when alcohol consumption is more prevalent.

As a combined result of the "Plan While You Can" campaign and the
efforts of many state and local community partners, including law
enforcement, Texas experienced a 23-percent decrease in alcohol-related
crashes over the 2017 Labor Day weekend* compared to the 2016 holiday
weekend. Still, during last year's Labor Day weekend, there were 264
alcohol-related crashes in Texas, resulting in 14 fatalities and 19
serious injuries.

"It's completely irresponsible and absolutely inexcusable to drink and
drive," said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. "Finding a sober ride
is easy, and it can save you from being arrested or from injuring or
killing yourself or others. Make an effort to plan ahead for a sober
ride this Labor Day weekend. You owe it to yourself and everyone else on
the road."

The "Plan While You Can" campaign includes a statewide tour featuring an interactive
dodgeball
game where participants avoid incoming "dodgeballs" as
virtual drinks are added to the screen. As more drinks are added,
participants experience how drinking can slow their reaction times as
on-screen avatars begin responding more slowly to their players'
movements.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol can face up to $17,000 in fines
and fees, jail time and loss of their driver's license. Visit
SoberRides.org to find alternatives to drinking and driving, such as:

  • Designating a sober driver or calling someone for a sober ride home
  • Contacting a cab or ride-share service
  • Using mass transit
  • Spending the night

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov
or (512) 463-8700.

*6 p.m., Sept. 1, 2017 – 11:59 p.m., Sept. 4, 2017

The information contained in this report represents reportable data
collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (CR-3). This
information was received and processed by the department as of July 9,
2018.

The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining
80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public
transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership,
we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that
enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at txdot.gov.

Our Values: People • Accountability • Trust • Honesty

An Equal Opportunity Employer

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