As part of the Project Roadblock series, one Wichita Falls official shares their close call with a drunken driving accident.
On average about 29 people die each day from drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It was September 1992 when Judge Woody Gossom was on federal national guard duty driving to a meeting in Austin when his car was struck head-on by a drunk driver.
“I spent five days in intensive care and seven days in the hospital. I’ve had three additional surgeries since the initial surgery then. You know, it certainly made me think a lot to realize that could have been my last trip,” Gossom said.
Gossom said this isn’t as big of an issue in Texoma.
“I don’t know if we rank abnormally high in Texas counties of our size but we have more than I wish we had,” Gossom said.
Gossom said people driving while impaired is a lot like when the seat belt was first invented.
“People were wearing them and not wearing them and somebody would have an accident and get hurt and they didn’t have a seatbelt on,” Gossom said. “For the next one to two months everybody religiously wore their seat belt. But it wasn’t required then. All of a sudden people would forget and forget and everything was back to normal. We tend to think that won’t happen to us.”
As someone who was hit by a drunk driver and lived, Judge Gossom was lucky, but not all are that lucky.
Here are some safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration if you know you are going to be drinking.
- Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
- Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
- If you have been drinking, call a taxi or ride service.
- If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
- Always wear your seatbelt, it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
Check out there other parts of the Project Roadblock series: