FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Even though Independence Day has passed, many Texans are celebrating the holiday all week long. And this extended celebration could lead to more trouble on the roads. So, this week, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching a program aimed at preventing drunk driving.
“If you’re going to party, you have to have a PASS — a person appointed to stay sober,” explained Val Lopez with TxDOT. The department is sending out the message this summer, as 35 percent of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Texas occur in the summer months.
But drunk driving is not just a Texas problem. A nationwide survey found that 40 percent of U.S. drivers thought that it would be safe to have three or more drinks within a two-hour period before driving. But, Lopez explained, that is simply not the case, and he proved it with a specialized pair of ‘beer goggles’ that show just how impaired a person can be with a little bit of alcohol.
CBS 11 News reporter Melissa Newton agreed to an experiment with Lopez. She easily passed a walking test without the goggles, navigating through cones and balancing on lines. But the goggles are designed to make a person feel about twice the legal limit, and it was a totally different picutre. “I feel drunk right now,” Newton said. “I feel dizzy. That’s almost a headache.”
“This represents, basically, for someone your size, one drink every hour for four hours,” said Lopez.
Just walking with the goggles proved impossible for Newton, but many people actually try to drive in those conditions. So, while she may have failed the ‘beer goggles’ test, TxDOT is hoping that the experiment encourages others to have a PASS when they party.
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