It is no secret that drunk driving is a serious issue across the state of Texas. In 2010, there were 25,000 DWI accidents in Texas, placing the state first in the nation in alcohol-related crashes and car accident deaths.

New data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicates that drunk driving spikes on football game days. Approximately six percent of the 25,000 DWI accidents in the state last year occurred on the same day that a Texas football team had a game. Now, TxDOT is taking action to discourage drunk driving on game days.

As part of a new awareness campaign, TxDOT has created a mobile education unit. The vehicle features a fake living room where six people are watching a football game. Outside the vehicle, there are two cutouts of football players taking car keys. With the campaign, TxDOT hopes to encourage football fans to designate sober drivers and take keys from friends who are too drunk to drive.

According to TxDOT Traffic Safety Director Terry Pence, driving drunk on football game days is often unintentional. “A lot of times people get into situations when they’re tailgating or watching a game for multiple hours,” Pence said, “and they’re not paying attention to the amount of alcohol that they’re consuming because they’re sitting there having a good time, visiting with friends and family.”

But even if football fans don’t intend to drink and drive, doing so can cause significant harm to other people on the road, as well as to the drivers themselves.

Source: The Daily Texan, “Program targets drunken driving,” Julia Bunch, Nov. 7, 2011