TxDOT aims to educate Hispanics about driving drunk

 In 2013, Texas led the nation in fatal drunk driving crashes. The Texas Department of Transportation hopes to change that with new campaigns directed at specific groups.

"Drink, Drive, Go to Jail. De Veras," or "For Real," that's the message TxDOT is sending to Hispanics in the Lone Star State.
"Drinking and driving is not a good choice ever," said TxDOT Traffic Safety Spokesperson Anna Hovenden.  

TxDOT said Hispanics make up 49 percent of drunk driving crashes caused by young men ages 17 to 34.

"A couple of my friends, they had DWIs," said Marco Ortega who attended the Pachanga Latino Music Festival Saturday.  

"I had a friend with a DWI. His license was suspended and for him to get a good job, it was tough for a while," said Francisco Visuet who was also at Pachanga Saturday.  

Those crashes led to 275 deaths last year. TxDOT officials hope by educating people they can prevent any more unnecessary deaths.

"We tell them that drinking and driving can devastate your life," said Hovenden.  

The statewide campaign travels to Latino events where alcohol may be consumed and reminds attendees there are several alternatives to driving home drunk.

"If you plan on partying and you're out there having beverages, make sure you have a designated driver. And if not, call somebody to come get you, or take public transportation, or, if nothing else, stay where you are until you're sober," said Hovenden.

People at the Pachanga Latino Music Festival said they heard the message loud and clear.

"It's always safe to have a designated driver and always take the precaution because you don't want to be in those shoes, it's not good," said Visuet.

"First will be quit drinking, second would be get a friend to drive after the party or stay at home," said Ortega.

TxDOT said someone caught driving drunk pays an average of $17,000 in fines and legal fees and that's the best case scenario. They can also lose their license, spend time in jail and lose their job. 

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