TxDOT launches "Holiday P.A.S.S." campaign

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DENISON, TX-Thousands of people will hit the roads in the weekend heading for holiday destinations and first responders and law enforcement are asking you to do your part to help make sure everyone gets there safely.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but for law enforcement, it's also the busiest. .

"It does get stressful and people last minute shopping and all that stuff. And what people need to realize is to take a moment and relax a little bit and realize that they need to drive friendly," said Sherman Police Sgt. D.M. Hampton.

It's also a time when law enforcement and first responders see more alcohol-related crashes and injuries, according to Air Evac's Micah Wilson.

"Every holiday we see catastrophic accidents involving fatalities or debilitating injuries that are unnecessary and that is because someone didn't appoint someone to be their sober driver," he said.

According to TxDOT's Patsy Walls, during last year's holiday season, there were over 24-hundred alcohol-related crashes in Texas. Seventy-eight people were killed and more than 800 people were seriously injured.

"It's a statistic that can be so easily remedied, all you have to do is that if you make the choice to impair yourself. tThat choice shouldn't never include getting behind the wheel of a vehicle because then it's no longer just about you," she said.

That's why Friday, TxDOT launched "Holiday P.A.S.S."-- or "Person Appointed to Stay Sober"-- campaign, with local police and emergency responders. TxDOT's Tray Turner said this program emphasizes the importance of designated drivers.

"We've talked about the don't drink and drive campaigns quite a bit and this actually gives people a name and a phone number of someone that they can call," he said.

"I think it's very smart this time of year to do that. It gives basically the gift of life. It keeps somebody from having to go to jail, potentially injuring themselves and other people and affecting many many other families during this time in the holiday season," said Hampton.

"Hopefully with the safety campaign and the thousands of hours law enforcement will be working overtime to stop and arrest and get those drunk drivers off the roadway, hopefully we'll have a big drop," said Walls.

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