Texas Launches Campaign to Prevent Drunken Driving

TxDOT goggles simulate impairment from drinking

By Andres Gutierrez
|  Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012  |  Updated 6:39 PM CDT
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The Texas Department of Transportation launched P.A.S.S. or a Person Appointed to Stay Sober and allowed an NBC 5 reporter to demonstrate how only a few drinks can impair your ability to drive and make decisions.

Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News

The Texas Department of Transportation launched P.A.S.S. or a Person Appointed to Stay Sober and allowed an NBC 5 reporter to demonstrate how only a few drinks can impair your ability to drive and make decisions.

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The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a campaign urging drivers to get a PASS -- a person appointed to stay sober.

"During the summer months we see an increase of drunk-driving fatalities, even though it's one quarter of the year, a third of our fatalities happen during that timeframe," TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez said.

TxDOT provided two sets of goggles that simulate the impairment experienced by drivers who have been drinking to NBC 5's Andres Gutierrez.

The first set recreates a blood alcohol level of 0.12 to 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.

When Fort Worth police Officer Rene Del Rio told him to walk the white line, Gutierrez failed.

"You're looking and trying to maintain your balance," he said. "At the same time i am giving you instructions so it's difficult for you to understand the instructions because you're trying to maintain your balance."

The second set of goggles simulates a blood alcohol level of 0.25, more than three times the legal limit.

This time, Gutierrez had to navigate around orange cones. His vision through the goggles was doubled, affecting his coordination. He missed and hit the cones.

“Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive and make decisions,” Lopez said. “Your best option is not to drink at all if you're going to drive.”

TxDOT's PASS campaign begins Thursday.

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