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Texan Government and Legal Professionals Offer Tips for Safe and Happy Driving This Holiday Season

Year after year, Texas leads the nation in traffic fatalities due to drunk driving. Add to that the still-growing spike in fatal crashes due to the energy boom, and Texans have good reason to think carefully about staying safe on the road this holiday season.

Auto accidents can be financially, emotionally and physically devastating, especially during the holidays. Fortunately, it is easy to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash.

  • Stay off the road after 1:00 a.m. Most drunk driving accidents occur between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Even if most people drive sober, inevitably, some will not. Keep loved ones off the roads in the early morning hours as much as possible.
  • Get some sleep. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that cutting sleep short by even two or three hours can make an accident up to four times more likely. Anyone who is hung over or sleepy should stay out of the driver’s seat on New Year’s Day or the day after Christmas.
  • Talk to young people. According to the CDC, a staggering 32 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes involve a driver between the ages of 21 and 24. Know a young person coming home for the holidays? Let them know how much they are loved, and warn them about the risks of impaired driving.
  • Get the car checked. Around the holidays, the National Safety Council recommends a full inspection and tune up to ensure optimal brake and acceleration response times. Temperature changes and extreme temperatures can cause mechanical problems. In addition, make sure the car has a spare tire, jumper cables and a first aid kit.
    Remember that no-refusal DWI checkpoints may be in effect. The Dallas police have made a habit of setting up mandatory sobriety checkpoints around the holidays. Anyone who refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test may be arrested and taken to jail for a forced sample collection. Avoid the drama and make sure your driver has had absolutely nothing to drink.