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."
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.