TxDOT officials urge students to have sober spring break “plan’’

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With many college students and young adults heading to Spring Break destinations in the coming weeks, the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Plan While You Can” campaign reminds them to make a sober ride part of their festivities.

Each year in Texas, more than half of drivers involved in deadly drunk driving crashes are between the ages of 17 and 34.

“Enjoy Spring Break, but do so responsibly,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “If you drink and drive, you run the very real risk of being killed or destroying your future and the lives of others. It’s irresponsible and just not worth it.”

During last year’s Spring Break* in Texas, there were 410 crashes involving young drivers who were driving under the influence of alcohol. Those crashes killed 20 people and seriously injured another 48.

The “Plan While You Can” campaign includes a statewide tour featuring an interactive dodgeball game where participants try to avoid incoming “beach balls” as virtual drinks are added to the screen.

As more drinks are added, participants experience how drinking can slow their reaction times as on-screen avatars begin responding more slowly to their players’ movements. The experience will visit eight Texas cities during March.

While drivers under the influence of alcohol risk killing or seriously injuring themselves or others they also face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their driver’s license.

Visit SoberRides.org to find alternatives to drinking and driving, such as:

-- Designating a sober driver, or calling someone for a sober ride home.

-- Contacting a cab or ride-share service.

-- Using mass transit.

-- Spending the night

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