AUSTIN – From parking lot barbecues to colorful team spirit, football tailgating is a Texas tradition. At the SMU-Temple game, one very special tailgate will serve fans an important and potentially life-saving message about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Visiting select college and pro football games around the state, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Fan Van reminds people to make a game plan before kickoff for having a sober ride home after the game. The Fan Van also offers football fans the chance to win donated prizes, including a Man Cave and $500 Best Buy gift cards. The Man Cave features a flat-screen TV, home theater system, a massage chair and a folding poker table, among other prizes. To be eligible, potential winners must pledge not to drink and drive this football season.
In 2012, 1,612 DUI-alcohol traffic crashes occurred in Texas on football game days when a Texas college or professional team was playin. DUI-alcohol traffic fatalities increased 27 percent – from 45 deaths in 2011 to 57 deaths in 2012 – on game days when a Texas college or professional team was playing.
In Dallas, there were 225 DUI-alcohol traffic crashes in 2012 on football game days when a Texas college or professional team was playing, compared with 229 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2011. And, in Fort Worth, there were 116 DUI-alcohol traffic crashes in 2012 on football game days when a Texas college or professional team was playing, compared with 120 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2011.
In an effort to curb impaired driving on football game days, the Texas Department of Transportation is visiting college and pro football games across the state to remind fans about the importance of planning for a sober ride home. Helping to drive the message home is the TxDOT Fan Van – a football-shaped vehicle that is staffed and designed to educate fans about the consequences of drinking and driving.
"We know alcohol is often a part of game-day festivities, so we are urging football fans to make the right call and plan for a sober ride home," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "Whether you're cheering for your favorite team in the bleachers, at a friend's house or as part of a tailgate party, you owe it to yourself, your family and your fellow football fans to play it safe and find a sober ride home."
Besides raising awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, the Fan Van will offer visitors the chance to win a donated Man Cave or one of four, $500 Best Buy gift cards. The Man Cave grand prize consists of a 60-inch, flat-screen TV and home theater system, a massage chair, a basketball hoop and dart board, a putting mat, a folding poker table and a small vending machine-style cooler (all donated for this campaign). To be eligible to win, spectators must take a pledge to not drink and drive this football season. Specific contest details and various ways to enter – including through Twitter, at events or by texting – can be found at TexasGamePlan.com.
Along with on-site anti-DUI promotions, football fans also will see and hear sober driving messages on TV and radio public service announcements; at bars and restaurants; at convenience stores; and on mobile ads.
Fan Van Tour Stops to Promote Sober Driving:
- Oct. 26 – SMU vs. Temple (Dallas)
- Nov. 2 – Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State (Lubbock)
- Nov. 7 – Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Waco)
- Nov. 9 – Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State (College Station)
- Nov. 16 – Texas A&M-Kingsville vs. Valdosta State (Kingsville)
- Nov. 23 – Lamar vs. McNeese State (Beaumont)
- Nov. 24 – Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Houston)
- Dec. 30 – Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio)
- January-February – Additional stops to be determined
TxDOT urges people who have been drinking to take a taxi, use public transit or designate a sober driver – someone who has not been drinking. TxDOT's SoberRides.org provides several options for getting home safely by entering a current location and an end destination. It also is mobile-friendly.
About Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at txdot.gov.
Road conditions and traffic updates are available on the drivetexas.org website, on Facebook at facebook.com/txdot and Twitter at twitter.com/txdot or twitter.com/txdotdallaspio.