Drinking and driving is always an issue during the holiday weekends, as the mumber of DWI incidents tend to shift up rather than go down.
In a push to lower DWI instances, Abilene Police Department along with Taylor County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Team Dyess went out to local bars, passing out poker chips that say, "Stay Alive, Don't Drink and Drive."
"I personally spoke to I would say as many as 500 people," Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said. "I had one bar patron refuse the chip, only one."
With the city's hard work, drunk driving arrests rose from three last year to seven over the holiday weekend. Out of the seven, two resulted in car accidents and the average blood alcohol content (BCA) of those who arrested was 0.16 or double the legal limit.
Despite the numbers, Standridge said he feels their efforts were not in vain.
"Just today I encountered a person whom I've never met before who thanked me and said it was very creative and he liked the idea," Standridge said. "He liked the fact that each person had something to walk away with.”
With them, Standridge said, were the parents of Jarrett-Paul Mantanona, an 8-year-old who in 2011 lost his life to a drunk driver.
The youth’s father, Matt, “actually rode with me all night. He personally gave out hundreds of coins," Standridge said.
For those people willing to take a risky chance and drive drunk, Standridge said, "My message is that DWI cost are extraordinary and that includes the loss of life."
Standridge also said next year they will pass out chips the week before Memorial Day weekend in hopes to capture more people and make a bigger impact.