AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the midst of celebrating the holidays with your friends and family, law enforcement officials in the Austin area are asking you to do one simple thing–plan ahead to have a safe and sober drive home if you plan on drinking.
KXAN Traffic Anchor Erica Brennes spoke with a mother who lost her 22-year-old son to a drunk driver and has her plea.
“The choice that man made devastated our lives. The choice that man made to get behind the wheel after drinking shattered our lives,” says Kendra Sellers, who is preparing for the second Thanksgiving without her son.
“There is always another choice that it’s a choice that you make to get behind the wheel and drink. And it’s 100% preventable,” says Sellers.
It’s not just that a drunk driving arrest costs a lot of money. Austin Police say it also carries a heavy emotional and mental burden.
“There’s been people that I’ve pulled over coming back from celebrating, they just graduated college, and they just got their master’s degree or bachelor’s degree or teaching certificate and wound up making the wrong decision and driving. And it’s cost them a lot,” says Kimberly Janksy with the Austin Police Department.
Law enforcement officials aren’t asking you to not drink but to plan ahead.
“Enjoy yourself. Have a good time spending those precious times with family, friends and loved ones. But prepare yourself for the holidays and act responsibly when it comes to consuming alcohol,” says Victor Taylor, a Sergeant with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Throughout the holiday season, law enforcement across Texas beef up patrols to catch intoxicated drivers.
“During the holidays, we always have increased drinking. More people are out on the roads more people are partying, and of course, it makes us that much more aware of drivers on the highway and on the roads,” says Jansky
The Austin Police Department will be on patrol and enforcing a DWI No Refusal Initiative this Thanksgiving. The operation started last week and will continue each night through November 26, from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
This initiative is an effort to enforce DWI laws, keep the public safe by encouraging drivers to make responsible decisions, and apply for blood search warrants on suspects who refuse to provide a breath or blood specimen as required by law. This initiative will also focus on highways and high-speed roadways.