Officials urge caution as spring break sees high DUI rates

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Texas Department of Transportation reports more than 400 DUI-related crashes last year during Spring Break alone, and most of those involved young drivers.

State officials would like to see a big drop in those numbers and the best way would be for folks to not drink and drive.

Officials are encouraging students to plan while they can to hopefully avoid the dangerous and often deadly choice to drink and drive.

Many Midwestern State University students like Carlos Torres are anxious to get their spring break festivities underway but say safety is their top priority.

“I don’t really drink or anything personally,” Torres said. “I don’t do any of that stuff, but for the people who did it, I would say have a plan don’t drink and drive and have a designated driver.”

TxDOT Public Information Officer Adele Lewis said in 2019, 55% of alcohol-related crashes and 60% of the fatal wrecks were caused by young people.

“If you’re young and 17 to 34, that’s the bulk of the DUI drivers that are causing serious crashes and fatal wrecks all over our state every year,” Lewis said.

Spring break numbers are also chilling.

Lewis said in 2018 there were 451 DUI-related crashes that killed 12 people in the state. In 2019, although there were 417 wrecks and 26 people lost their lives with 52 serious injuries.

“That was an 8% decrease in the number of wrecks but a 117% increase in the number of people that were killed on Texas roads

Lewis encouraged all travelers and partiers to plan while they can, schedule a Lyft or Uber, have a friend or a family member available to give you a ride whatever you do, simply don’t drink and drive and while MSU senior Kameron Shrum said he plans on studying this spring break, he urges others who won’t be drinking to play their part.

“Maintain your distance between vehicles, don’t be on your phone,” Shrum said.

State officials want to remind motorists that driving under the influence of alcohol not only risks death or serious injuries, but it can also be costly.

To avoid fees, jail time and loss of driver’s license, folks are being encouraged to make safe choices.

Both Torres and Shrum also urge their peers to take precautions as the coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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