Last December, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia came to Irving to announce the revitalization of the DWI Task Force. Founded in 1994, the program to raise awareness of and prevent drunk driving had not been very active and she wanted to increase its effectiveness. Dr. Elba Garcia returned to Irving to give an update on the program. She said more police departments and organizations are pitching in to help Task Force. But statistics about drunk driving still remain high in Texas. Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related crashes with Dallas County second in the state behind Harris County. Last year, there were more than 6,000 alcohol-related arrests in Dallas County. Many are repeat offenders. Even worse, according to Sheriff Lupe Valdez, another speaker at the event, many have driven while intoxicated at least 80 times before being caught. “Every year, we do this and we always wonder if we are doing any good,” Sheriff Valdez said. “It’s a simple concept but we need to keep repeating it–if you drink, don’t drive.” Those words need to be emphasized especially during the holidays, officials said, since alcohol flows freely at many holiday events. Chief Boyd said Texas lost 81 lives last year in alcohol-related accidents just between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. He said the increased efforts during the holidays this year have the theme, “Home for the Holidays.” Last Thanksgiving, DPS troopers arrested 393 individuals for DWI and issued more than 7,400 speeding citations.
To learn more about the DWI Task Force, click here.