Our Community Continues to Be Impacted by Drunk Drivers (Press Release)

by Police Administration, Friday, May 11, 2012, 02:00 (2476 days ago)

Every day our society deals with the reality of vehicle collisions. However, all too often when these collisions are coupled with drunk drivers, it brings about devastating loss of life. Our community saw this first-hand with the recent loss of two teenagers who were passengers in a vehicle involved in a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) incident in the month of April. Drunk driving is an awful reality.

I want our community to go home safe every day. In 2012, the Abilene Police Department set a goal of reducing on-street and DWI-related collisions by 3 percent. Our department is determined to reach this goal and we can do it with education awareness, traffic enforcement and partnership with stakeholders. Additionally, changes in our personal behaviors may be in order. Tragically, nearly one-in-three vehicle fatalities in our city can be attributed to drunk driving. Nationwide in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher involved in fatal crashes were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for a DWI than were drivers with no alcohol in their system.

The question we should ask ourselves as a community is how can we prevent drunk driving incidents from occurring so often? This could mean that you need to plan ahead when you attend your next party. Or you need to ensure you secure keys from all drivers when you host a party where alcohol will be served. Maybe it means that you never get into a vehicle with anyone that has been drinking alcohol. It starts with you! Change in our personal behavior and the influence upon others to change their driving habits is part of making our community safer. Although Abilene saw a reduction in DWI’s of 37 percent in 2011, how does a statistic truly translate into changing behavior? Will a simple statistic truly resonate with any of those families that have lost a loved one to a drunk driver?

My department will continue to be deliberate with our actions to help mitigate potential vehicular fatalities, but we cannot do it without the help of the community. Whether it is concerned citizens that are watchful for potential drunk drivers or those carrying the torch for awareness and education, I ask all of us to make a difference towards the goal of reducing drunk driving incidents. Change only comes with sheer will, education, and determination.

In this spirit, our department joins with the Mantanona family this coming Sunday, May 13th, in an effort to raise awareness against the consequences of drunk driving. One year ago this coming Sunday, the Mantanona family lost their 8-year old son Jarrett. A drunk driver killed him. They will hold a memorial 5K race/walk and food drive at Red Bud Park. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/events/326005907467400/

We all have a choice to make before the next life is injured or killed—it starts with you!

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