TxDOT’s holiday sober sleigh ride stops in Beaumont

The inside of the Sober Ride Sleigh is decorated with festive garland, bows and
TxDOT’s holiday sober sleigh ride stops in Beaumont

With New Year’s Eve parties and holiday get-togethers on the minds of many Southeast Texans, the Texas Department of Transportation, along with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Beaumont Police, the Department of Public Safety, and other local emergency response personnel would like to remind event-goers of the dangers of drinking and driving and —more importantly, educate people who are planning to consume alcohol of the many options they have to help make the roads safer.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Sober Ride Sleigh is visiting more than a dozen cities to encourage Texans to give the gift of a sober ride, and on Tuesday, Dec. 16, the famous bright red limousine, covered with white reindeer and topped with a festive green bow, made its way through downtown Beaumont and parked in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse where local officials partnered with TxDOT to spread awareness for the campaign.

Sheriff Mitch Woods, along with Texas Department of Transportation District Engineer Tucker Ferguson, BPD’s Sergeant Rob Flores, DPS Trooper Stephanie Davis and other officials spoke about the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, and the repercussions of drinking and driving.

According to Trooper Davis, during last year’s holiday season (Dec. 1, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014) there were 2,367 DUI-alcohol traffic crashes in Texas, resulting in 763 serious injuries and 92 fatalities. The District Attorney’s Office would also like to remind drivers of the “no-refusal” DUI enforcement policies that will be in effect. Any motorists suspected of being drunk who refuse to take a breath test after being pulled over will be required to provide a blood sample for alcohol testing with a warrant that will be issued within minutes by a judge on standby.

The campaign is reaching out to Texans statewide to get the message of driving sober directly to the people. The Sober Sleigh is a donated limousine decorated to look like a giant present, complete with fun holiday decor, gifts and a decorative fireplace. Sober Ride Sleigh team members, dressed as elves, greet and talk with people at each stop along 13 cities.

The Sober Ride Sleigh campaign offers people the chance to win donated prizes, including a day at the Richard Petty Racing Experience at Texas Motor Speedway or a SpaFinder gift certificate valued at $2,000 by pledging to have a sober ride this holiday season. Three runners-up each will win a $1,000 American Express gift card. Contest details and ways to enter can be found at holidaysoberride.com.

“We want drivers to have fun over the holidays, but more importantly, we want them to celebrate responsibly,” said TxDOT Executive Director Lt. Gen. Joe Weber. “Make a sober ride part of your plans and don’t let one bad choice ruin the holidays for you or your family.”

Texans looking to plan for a sober ride can visit soberrides.org for assistance.