TxDOT warns motorists not to drink and drive

Many highway/expressway upgrades and construction have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused a lack of funding for such projects. (Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

HARLINGEN — Though there may be less traffic on roadways this Labor Day weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic, motorists are urged to drive sober.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is advising motorists to plan ahead for a sober ride before they drink, as part of its “Plan While You Can” campaign.

“We encourage people to enjoy the long weekend, but to do so responsibly,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass stated in a press release. “If you plan to drink alcohol and go out, make the plan for a sober ride. It’s an easy decision that can prevent senseless tragedies and save lives.”

The campaign aims to save lives and reduce preventable crashes.

Those that drive while under the influence of alcohol put themselves and others at risk of death or serious injuries.

According to TxDOT, there were 382 crashes involving drivers under the influence during last year’s Labor Day weekend. Those crashes killed 12 people and seriously injured another 55.

Driving under the influence can also be costly.

According to TxDOT, drivers can face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, as well as jail time and loss of their driver’s license.

Instead of getting behind the wheel, motorists that have been drinking can do the following — designate a sober driver, contact a cab or ride-share service, use mass transit or spend the night.

In addition to having a sober ride, TxDOT advises motorists to follow the guidance of health officials by maintaining social distance, wearing a mask and remembering to wash their hands.

ahernandez@valleystar.com