Mother Urges Drivers to Take Personal Responsibility, Never Drink and Drive

It was the middle of the night in 2006 when Debra Vasquez was awakened by the heart-wrenching phone call informing her that her 16-year-old daughter, Erica, and 5-year-old nephew, Elias, had been killed by a drunk driver. It was later revealed the drunk driver had two prior DWIs.

I want drivers to understand that your life can change in the blink of an eye, Vasquez said. Two lives were taken because of someones mistake to drink alcohol and drive. People think ˜oh this wont happen to me. I thought this at one time, too. I beg you. Dont drink alcohol and drive.

Vasquez is sharing her story to support the Texas Department of Transportations Plan While You Can campaign, which urges drivers to make a plan for a sober ride this holiday season.

Planning for a sober ride to and from holiday festivities is not only smart and responsible, but it also could save your life and the lives of others, said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. Let the holiday season be a time of celebration and fun, not regret. Nobody wants to remember the holidays as a time when they lost a loved one or killed an innocent person. These kinds of losses are totally preventable.

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In 2017, there were 2,469 alcohol-related crashes in Texas during the holiday season.* Those crashes killed 96 people and seriously injured another 202.

The Plan While You Can campaign includes a statewide tour featuring an interactive game called Plan to Win. In the game, three participants stand on an oversized game board as a live announcer presents a series of trivia questions related to the consequences of drinking and driving. Players avoid going to jail by correctly answering the questions. Spectators can view the questions and follow the game on a large monitor. The game is designed to be fun, yet educational, as it reminds audiences of the importance of planning for a sober ride rather than drinking and driving. The Plan to Win game will visit four Texas cities during December.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol not only risk killing or seriously injuring themselves or others, but also face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their drivers license. As always, TxDOT urges drivers to visit SoberRides.org to find alternatives to drinking and driving, such as:

  • Designating a sober driver.
  • Contacting a cab or ride-share service.
  • Using mass transit.
  • Asking a sober friend or family member for a ride home.
  • Spending the night.

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at [email protected] or (512) 463-8700.

*Dec. 1, 2017 “ Jan. 1, 2018

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 Nov. 12, 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.

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David Glessner
[email protected]
512-463-8700