Buckle up, be safe and ‘always plan ahead,’ North Texas MADD cautions holiday revelers


The North Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants to remind everyone about safe alcohol consumption, safe driving, safe boating and being safe in general this Memorial Day weekend. 

MADD North Texas Program Specialist Emma Dugas said that with Memorial Day weekend being the “unofficial kickoff to summer,” it’s important to keep in mind the risk of crashes in all motor-type vehicles that are alcohol-related, and completely preventable. 

“Drunk driving claimed 172 lives during Memorial Day weekend in 2019,” Dugas told Dallas Express. “That accounts for 37% of all traffic deaths, so we want to just remind the public to be careful. If your plans involve alcohol, ensure a safe way home with a non-drinking driver. We’re always trying to reach out to the public and educate and make sure that they are making good choices and prepared ahead of time. But we also like to remind people to wear their seat belts because this remains a great defense against drunk drivers.”

One of the lesser-known dangers about alcohol consumption and operating a motor vehicle involves boating, Dugas said. 

“Travel increases over the Memorial Day weekend because it’s the unofficial kickoff to summer and boating season,” Dugas said. “And so the risk of those crashes and injuries and deaths increase on both land and water. People are actually just impaired at .03 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on the water, as, to a point .08 BAC on land. That’s due to environmental factors like the motion of the water, the sun, cold water and other factors. So, if you are on or near water, don’t use impairing substances.”

One of the most important things to do before any Memorial Day weekend festivities, Dugas said, is to plan your transportation ahead of time.

“Always plan ahead,” Dugas told Dallas Express. “If you’re going to host a party or you’re going to go to a party, make sure that you communicate with your host, ‘Hey, I am drinking but this is my non-drinking driver to get me home.’ If you are a host, make sure that your guests have a safe way home. If they don’t, let them stay at your home. Because only time can sober you up – not coffee, not a cold shower or anything like that.”

According to the Texas Accident Firm, 40% of accidents are caused by drunk driving during the Memorial Day weekend, compared to a normal three-day weekend where just over 29% of accidents are alcohol-related. 

The MADD website states that drunk driving is the leading killer on American roads. According to statistics on the website, drunk driving claims more than 10,000 lives and injures more than 300,000 people every year.

The MADD website also says that extra Texas law enforcement agents will be deployed and looking for intoxicated drivers, speeders and seat-belt violators this weekend. 

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