As you may be preparing for holiday festivities coming up, TxDOT El Paso encourages you to have a plan this holiday season as part of the “Plan While You Can” campaign to avoid drinking and driving.

“There are more parties going on during the holidays. A lot of office parties are held at facilities,” District Engineer for TxDOT El Paso Bob Bielek shared. 

Especially in areas that are busy.

“If you look at the Cincinnati area for example, a lot of parties go on in that area and parking is often on the other side of the street, on the other side of Mesa. People have to cross streets, and sometimes when they’ve had a few drinks, they don’t necessarily cross on the crosswalks or with the light. If you mix those kinds of pedestrians with drivers who are impaired, it becomes a very dangerous situation,” Bielek explained.

Last year in the state, there were around 2,500 crashes during the Christmas holiday season that killed about 100 people. Fortunately here locally, there were no fatalities last year, but there were 93 crashes due to drinking and driving. That may sound like good news, but TxDOT still re-emphasizes to take caution whether you’re behind the wheel or walking to your destination.

“We’re trying to look out for people during the holidays. Someone who gets a DWI and ends up paying $17,000 to get through the process probably doesn’t think that they’re out there helping them. But then they could’ve been in a casket instead of paying $17,000,” Bielek told KTSM.

Police will be cracking down this holiday season by making extra efforts to keep an eye on any drunk drivers on the road.

Other ways for a safe ride include catching a taxi, uber, or lyft. If you are planning to travel longer distances, TxDOT urges you to always use your seatbelt, get enough sleep, and drive under the speed limit.