By Alicia Neaves
MIDLAND - "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail. De Veras." That's the slogan behind TxDOT's bilingual campaign aimed at young, Hispanic men.
The goal is to put a stop to drinking and driving behind the wheel as popular holidays for the Hispanic community are on the horizon.
Last year, in the group of men ages 17-34 involved in accidents caused by alcohol, 49% were Hispanic. That's the reason behind "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail. De Veras," to convince anyone that's had a drink to not get behind the wheel.
"It's a time where Hispanic families like to get together. A lot of celebrations are going on, and that's a wonderful thing. But we just want to raise awareness to remind them that drinking and driving is a very dangerous thing," said Public Information Officer for TxDOT, Gene Powell.
"De Veras" was added onto the already familiar slogan by TxDOT. It means "For real."
In 2013, Midland County had 265 crashes involving alcohol. 15 deaths as a result. Compare that to Ector County with 370 crashes and 25 lives lost.
TxDOT says the reason why most young men won't call for a designated driver boils down to pride.
"You don't want to admit that you can't handle your own business. A little bit of a 'machismo' thing for all of us when we're that age," said Powell.
Charles Hodges, the CEO of Stop DWI, Inc. of West Texas, shares the same advice as TxDOT: Plan ahead. Hodges hosts victim impact panels where he educates residents on the serious consequences of drunk driving.
"I have people that want to come and speak about their experiences of driving drunk. Some have even killed people," said Hodges.
Hodges also is handing out brochures to local bars and liquor stores advocating for residents to get a sober driver.
"People come up to me and say, 'I'm convinced. I'll never do this again,' and that's good news to us," said Hodges.
"This is a preventable style of crash and we're just trying to get the message out there every way we can," said Powell.