Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo 

SAN ANGELO – From the beginning of the Thanksgiving season to Christmas and through the New Year, these three major holidays are considered the most dangerous times of the year on America’s roadways. 

For the past 36 years, U.S. presidents have proclaimed December as a time to commit to preventing impaired driving, stated Chelsea Ashton, the Prevention Director for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley in her opening remarks.

At Tuesday afternoon’s 12 p.m., the Concho Valley CARES Coalition and ADACCV 4D press conference, invited four agencies: TxDOT, the San Angelo Police Department, the San Angelo Fire Department and the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Department. Its representatives were invited to speak in conjunction with what has been designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, or 4D Month: Drunk, Drugged and Distracted Driving Awareness Month during December; the press conference was held on the second floor of the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office.

 

The first person in the lineup to speak was TxDOT’s Mona Lisa Didelot. 

“In 2016 there was over 108,000 distracted driving crashes in Texas which killed 452 people,” said Didelot.

“If you are going to drive, drive.” “Focus on the road.” 

Didelot stated that the best thing for a person to do so as not to get distracted was to either place their cell phone in the trunk or turn it off. And if the person really needed to answer that call, pull over to the side of the road.

The second speaker was SAPD Public Information Officer, Tracy Gonzalez.

“Impaired driving (driving under the influence, driving while impaired/driving while intoxicated, or drink-driving) is an important topic.

“In 2016, 280 of the fatal crashes in Texas, involved the use of drugs.” Officer Gonzalez asked the question “How do we as a community combat this problem”? “It starts with all of us participating in these programs with ADACCV.” Gonzalez concluded her remarks by saying that it also important to have conversations with out youth about impaired driving; we can raise awareness to combat these preventable deaths.

The third speaker, Assistant Fire Chief, Todd Sanford, approached his remarks not as a professional but as a concerned father of two college-age children and a teenager.

“I’m here today to plead with you parents to teach your children that bad things can happen if you drink, do drugs or text and drive,” said Sanford. “Make sure your children are safe when driving, set the guidelines when it comes to texting, drinking, etc.”

The fourth representative was TGCS’s Lt. Keith Muncey. “In 2016, Drunk driving crashes claimed more than 10,000 lives per year, stated Muncey.

Muncey illustrated his point of what can happen when individuals are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving. He instructed his deputy, Kathy McCleery, to put on a pair of drink goggles, also called fatal vision alcohol impairment simulation goggles. Either one of these substances can reduce the function of the brain, impairs thinking, reason and muscle coordination, all of which are essential in operating a vehicle.

“If people are going to drink, the best thing to do is have a designated driver, a sober friend or call a taxi.” “But don’t take that risk,” concluded Muncey.

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