Around Campus: Designate a Driver

Survive finals with a Weekend P.A.S.S.

Finals are fast approaching. You’re probably feeling the stress. When the weekend finally comes, you’re ready to go out and relax.

Unfortunately, many weekend stress-reducers are often accompanied by excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, weekends are the deadliest time for alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.

The Texas Department of Transportation has launched a new campaign encouraging young adults to get a Weekend P.A.S.S. (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) to reduce incidences of drunk driving.

Before you go out, be sure to designate a driver who won’t be drinking, not the friend who is the least drunk. Students can make their own pass at and send it to their friends, letting them know they’ll be the sober driver for the night.

Drinking and driving continues to be a national and statewide problem that has very serious and often deadly consequences. In 2009, 30.9 percent of the total traffic fatalities in Texas were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, according to TxDOT. While all 50 states have made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, many people continue to get behind the wheel after drinking. In fact, alcohol related crashes are highest among young adults, with 54 percent of impaired drivers killed in crashes between the ages of 18 and 34.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of young adults reported having driven a vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol in the past year. According to NHTSA statistics, the number of fatal crashes in which alcohol is involved is more than double on the weekends than during the week.

“Our message on weekends, and every day, is clear: do not drink and drive,” said Carol T. Rawson, TxDOT’s traffic operations division director. “And if your plans do include drinking, remember to always have a P.A.S.S. – Person Appointed to Stay Sober.”

The Weekend P.A.S.S. campaign aims to reduce the incidence of weekend impaired driving. TxDOT urges young adults to plan ahead and include a “person appointed to stay sober” in their weekend planning. When drinking be sure to designate a sober driver and if you are impaired, do not drive – call a taxi, use mass transit, contact your community’s safe ride program or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

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