Spring Break is around the corner, but so will be the police. The Burleson Police Department, along with a number of other law enforcement agencies and the Texas Department of Transportation, are gearing up to curb drunken driving over the annual holiday.
These agencies are joining forces to promote a key message during Spring Break, "DWI Hangovers Don't Go Away."
Various schools, including the Burleson and Joshua independent school districts, will be releasing students Friday for vacation March 10-14. It is during this time that the Burleson Police Department and TxDOT will try to remind students to not drink and drive.
TxDOT said more than 57 percent of all 2013 Texas drunken driving crashes involved drivers between the ages of 17 and 34. In the same year, 48 percent of all people killed in DUI-related alcohol crashes in Texas were between the same ages.
The number of deaths during Spring Break in Texas increased by 23 percent in 2013 since 2012, according to TxDOT.
“People often don’t recognize the impact that one or two drinks can have on their ability to operate a vehicle,” said Doug Sandifer, acting chief of the Burleson Police Department.“[space]Alcohol slows your reaction time, reduces your ability to properly gauge speed or distance from other objects and makes it difficult to focus on the road.”
Texas legal limit for intoxication is .08 blood alcohol level. However, an officer can arrest a person with a BAC below a .08 if the officer has probable cause that reflects on the drivers behavior, said the city of Burleson in a news release.
A person who is stopped for a DUI may face fees and fines up to $17,000. TxDOT said a person below the age of 21 can face up to a $500 fine, a 60-day driver's license suspension, 20 to 40 hours of community service and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes.
Those who are 17 years or older can face a fine up to $2,000, three- to 180-days in jail, and a 90-day suspension of their driver's license.
“Parents need to understand that they can be held criminally and civilly responsible for the actions of their minor children if they provide alcohol to them. This community has already experienced the tragic loss of lives due to minors drinking and driving,” Sandifer said