Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

July 5, 2013

Area authorities watching for drunk drivers during holiday weekend

JACKSONVILLE — Plan to drink during the holiday weekend? Authorities are making an offer you literally can't refuse: Don't drive.

And why? Well, while the July 4 holiday weekend certainly is a patriotic hallmark, it is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year because of alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, officials contend.

So much so, in fact, that representatives of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service “Watch UR BAC” program strongly suggest anyone who plans to drink during this period get a ride home from someone who plans to remain sober.

As part of this, authorities throughout the state will be out and about and vigorously patrolling during this holiday period. There certainly will be roving and saturation patrols.

A big component of this effort is the “No Refusal” initiative, which legally requires a suspected DWI driver to provide a breath or blood sample to police.

Drivers who refuse requests for a sample, incidentally, can legally be taken to jail or a hospital and literally compelled to provide one.

As part of the state vigilance, the Texas Department of Public Safety plans to increase DWI patrols during the entire 10-day period that surrounds July 4.

Through July 7, DPS troopers will focus patrols on high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes have been calculated to be most frequent, according to reports.

Recent statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation indicate the need for such a crackdown. According to reports, there were, in 2012,  1,099 fatalities in Texas involving drivers who were legally drunk at the time of the crash — having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

Twenty-six alcohol-related deaths took place in the Lone Star State during the of July holiday period last year, reports show.

Nighttime is particularly dangerous for drivers during the a celebratory holiday period such as July 4, officials said. But Cherokee County AgriLife Extension Agents have cautioned that death is not the only consequence from impaired driving.

“Often, people have a hard time recuperating financially from the cost of an arrest or the crash itself,” officials have noted in recent news releases.

DPS Director Steven McCraw emphasized that while July 4 is certainly a time of celebration in America, all Texans are encourage to enjoy the holiday responsibly.

“Impaired driving can quickly turn a time of celebration into a tragedy, so Texans should designate a sober driver or secure another form of transportation if they plan to drink alcohol,” McCraw stated. “Our troopers will also be doing their part during the holiday by increasing their patrols to keep our roadways safe.”

The increased patrols that target impaired driving are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

During the 2012 July 4 enforcement effort, Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers made 1,294 DWI arrests. An estimated 361 of them arrests were the direct result of the increased patrols.

DPS enforcement also resulted in nearly 13,700 speeding citation, more than 2,200 seat belt-child safety seat citations, 750 fugitive arrests and 518 felony arrests during this period.

To avoid a drunk driving tragedy, authorities suggest the following steps:

• Plan a safe way home.

• Designate a sober driver.

• Drunk drivers call a taxi, a sober friend or a family member for help. At the very least, please use some form of public transportation to get home safely.

• Contact law enforcement the minute a drunk driver is spotted.

• If you know someone who is about to drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make a better decision. Also, make other arrangements to transport them to safety.

Information used in this story was provided in releases from the Texas DPS and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos