SHERMAN - According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths totalling over 1,200 fatalities in 2010.
As the rest of North Texas got ready to ring in the New Year, Trooper Mark Tackett of the Department of Public Safety wanted to remind citizens to be responsible drivers. Because last year, New Year's day served as a grim reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving.
"The deadliest day in 2010 was January 1st and it starts at midnight," said Tackett.
He said there were 25 DWI fatalities New Years Day in Texas last year and because of that statistic, troopers will be out in full force to watch over the roads New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
"We're going to have all available troopers out on the highway working, and we're gunna be looking for people that are driving while intoxicated, folks not wearing their seatbelts, speeding, trying to engage others in road rage," said Tackett.
"If you avoid driving under the influence, you are literally, if everybody made the choice not to drive under the influence they would be extending lives all across the nation and even here in our community," Ron Barton of Grayson County MADD said.
Barton said drivers are also responsible for safety on the roadways and he hopes drivers will make the right choice. Because Barton himself experienced the pain of losing a loved one in the hands of a drunk driver.
"Ten years ago, my daughter Riannah and her maternal grandmother were driving to go pick up my son and a driver who have been drinking all day in a golf tournament rear ended them on the freeway," said Barton.
Both Barton and Tackett say, there's nothing wrong with having fun while waiting for the ball to drop, just as long as everyone avoids drinking and driving to make sure everyone gets the chance to enjoy the upcoming year.
"If you want to party and have a good time, do it safely, it's New Year's Eve. I don't want to neg everybody out with a sad story or anything like that. I encourage everybody to have a good time but do it safely," said Barton.
"We are warning everybody to remember that the deadliest day of the year is approaching and please be careful, don't drink and drive, designate a driver and make sure you wear your seatbelts, front seat and back seat," said Tackett.