AUSTIN – Analicia Zarate of Edinburg was four years old when she and her mom were headed home from church on a Sunday night. A drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit their car, killing her mom instantly. More than 20 years have passed since that tragic night, and Analicia still remembers every detail as if it happened yesterday.
She wishes the drunk driver could see the pain he caused by taking her mother away from her. Analicia’s mom, Nereida Flores Garza, is just one of thousands of people killed every year by drunk drivers—1,061 in Texas last year. Stories like this are why TxDOT is launching its Faces of Drunk Driving summer campaign that puts real faces behind the statistics.
“Every crash and every death caused by a drunk driver is 100% preventable,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “We hope these personal accounts from real offenders and survivors wake people up to the consequences of drinking and driving. Always get a sober ride through a designated driver, taxi, rideshare app, or calling a friend—or simply stay where you are.”
Last year, 24% of all traffic deaths in Texas were caused by drunk driving. That translates to an average of one person dying every eight hours and 15 minutes. In 2021, Texas saw 25,261 drunk driving related traffic crashes—an increase of 9% over what was seen in 2020.
The Faces of Drunk Driving campaign reminds us that the human toll of a drunk driving crash can devastate the lives of victims and survivors forever. Drinking and driving is 100% preventable and can have serious physical, emotional and financial consequences that can last for years. A DWI can be expensive and cause legal hassles, difficulty finding or keeping a job, loss of trust from loved ones, and regret.
That’s why the Faces of Drunk Driving campaign also includes stories from people convicted of DUI. Richie tells his story that, after drinking at a friend’s house he headed home, lost control of his car and hit a house. As a result, he spent 10 days in jail, was sentenced to a year probation, had to perform 150 hours of community service, pay fines and cover the costs of repairing the house. Richie says he also must face the fact that he is now a convicted felon.
This year’s campaign will feature events around the state to share stories of Texans who deal with the consequences of a drunk driving crash every day. Events will include an exhibit of powerful video testimonials. Full video stories and other impaired driving information can be found at SoberRides.org.
The Faces of Drunk Driving summer campaign is an important piece of the larger Drive Sober. No Regrets. campaign. It is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
November 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.
The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of April 12, 2022.