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Houston Police To Step Up DWI Efforts During Holiday Season

December 21, 2006 --The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. That's why the Houston Police Department is stepping up enforcement beginning tomorrow (Friday, December 22).

"We will be getting impaired drivers off the road, making holiday travel safer for everyone," said HPD Sergeant David Thomas of the Traffic Division. "Our message to drivers and motorcycle operators through the holiday period is simple: 'Drink, Drive, Go To Jail," Thomas said.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records show that 45 percent of Texas' crash fatalities in 2005 were alcohol related.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,201 people across America, just during the month of December 2005, were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .01 or higher. In these crashes, 1,033 involved a driver with an illegal BAC level of .08 or above.

As a city and county, Houston/Harris County leads all of the most populated counties in the nation for per capita deaths as a result of alcohol related crashes. 'Driving a passenger vehicle or riding a motorcycle impaired by alcohol or drugs is not worth the risk. You are putting your own life and the lives of others on the line. And, you are inviting arrest and a criminal record,' said Sgt. Thomas. 'Alcohol impaired violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work,' Thomas said.

Impaired driving is no accident - nor is it a victimless crime. In 2005, nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher, according to the NHTSA. 'The victims were not simply traffic statistics. They were normal, everyday people who did not come home at all, and their families were changed forever,' added Sgt. Thomas.

For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

DJT/JFC 12-21-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.