AUSTIN – Six years have passed since a drunk driver killed Azeza Salama’s fiancé and sent her and her two children to the hospital, but her memories of the crash remain as vivid as the day it happened. As people celebrate the holidays with friends and family, TxDOT wants stories such as Azeza’s to remind everyone to always find a sober ride.
Last year, Texas saw 48,641 traffic crashes during the holiday season—Dec. 1, 2021, through Jan. 1, 2022—which resulted in 433 fatalities and 1,695 serious injuries. Almost a quarter of those deaths—23%— were DUI-alcohol related with 98 people killed and 236 seriously injured in drunk driving crashes.
“With everything going on in the world these past few years, we want everyone to be able to celebrate this joyous time of year without the tragic consequences of drinking and driving,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “Get together with family and friends and have a great time, but please find an alternative way home if you choose to drink. You have many options available.”
Drunk driving crashes can be easily prevented, yet they can have serious physical, emotional and financial consequences that can last for years. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use a rideshare service, stay put, call a friend or family member, or use public transportation to ensure you get home safely if you decide to drink.
To encourage everyone to enjoy the holidays without drinking and driving, TxDOT’s Drive Sober. No Regrets. campaign will launch new PSAs on TV, radio, billboards, social media and at establishments such as bars, restaurants and convenience stores statewide.
A series of events will also take place across the state with video testimonials from Texans like Azeza Salama. These stories feature people sharing in their own words how they deal with the consequences of drunk driving—either as an offender or survivor. The videos plus tips on finding a sober ride can be found at SoberRides.org.
The Drive Sober. No Regrets. campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as 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.