November 14, 2011

Texas program tackles university game day drinking

Football game days are among the heaviest days for alcohol consumption, according to a 2007 study by the University of Texas. In a state where football reigns, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is tackling this issue with their "Know When to Pass" campaign, which aims to increase awareness of the dangers of game day drinking and encourage fans to pass their keys to a sober driver when they plan to drink.

The program has, or will make, several area university trips in November, including game day stops in Austin for the University of Texas vs. Texas Tech game; Lubbock for the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma St. game; and College Station for the Texas A&M vs. Kansas game.

Game day drinking and driving, whether to celebrate a professional or college football game, is a very serious problem in Texas and across the nation. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that in Texas, 45% of those who drink at a football watching party report driving home. Also in Texas, alcohol is accounting for more and more of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In 2006, driving under the influence accounted for 26.5% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. In 2010, this number was up to 35.6% — a 9.1% increase in 5 years.

This football season, TxDOT's "Know When to Pass" truck, which features a glassed-in living room depicting the typical football watching party, will be visiting football games across the state to remind fans that if drinking is in their playbook, they should pass their keys to a sober receiver.

"The 'Know When to Pass' truck aims to increase awareness of the very serious dangers of game day drinking and driving, while motivating Texans to pass their keys to a sober driver or pass on drinking altogether," said Carol T. Rawson P.E., TxDOT traffic operations director. "We want everyone to enjoy game day and to plan ahead and have a sober driver to drive home safely."

 

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