AUSTIN (KXAN) - Veteran police officers point out a drunken decision takes just a second. They're talking about those so-called ‘avoidable collisions' where someone's been drinking, driving and in too many cases, dying.
"The first thing alcohol affects is our thinking," DPS Sgt. Robbie Barrera told KXAN. "We think we're OK. It impairs our judgment. And when we think we're OK, we think we can get home."
Yet the Texas Department of Transportation reports during last year's holiday season there were 2,462 alcohol-related traffic crashes in Texas. In those crashes, 842 people were hurt and 78 died. That took in the period from Dec. 1 through Jan. 2.
So police are again taking an all-hands-on-deck approach and ramping up patrols into New Year's Day. But they can only do so much, there to pull over drivers who have already made the choice to drink and drive. In Central Texas, transportation options abound for those who plan ahead.
Last New Year's Eve, 60,000 Austinites took Cap Metro 's free bus service. The agency is hoping as many revelers take advantage of this year's safety effort which is run in conjunction with Austin police.
Downtown worker Drew Edge told KXAN News he hadn't thought of taking the bus home after his evening celebrating, before now.
"That's actually a great idea, I've got a bus stop near my house maybe I'll just do that," he said.
And apart from a fleet of eager cabbies and rented limos, Austin entrepreneurs are offering more local options – including pedicab drivers, who are also keen to rack in a good nights' profits.
Triple-A's ‘Tipsy Tow' is another option returning to Central Texas this year. But staff consider it a last resort for those who have had too much to drink this holiday. In Austin, towing companies are contracting with Triple-A to drop you and your vehicle back home for free if it's within 10 miles: 1-800 AAA-HELP.
Barrera points out, "You're lucky if you get stopped by law enforcement this evening if you've been drinking. Because the alternative is that you've hit someone's car and you've killed yourself or someone else."
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
Two school buses and a car crashed on eastbound Parmer Lane near Ranch Road 620 on Friday morning but there were no reports of injuries.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Patchy light rain is forecast in Central Texas Friday as an upper level disturbance moves across the state. Rainfall totals are expected to be very light, and showers will end by Friday night. Sunshine, but breezy and cool conditions are …