AUSTIN – Jamie Chapman was a 20-year-old college student when he made the fateful decision to drive after drinking at a party. He slammed into a tree and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Although he survived the crash, it left him physically debilitated.
“Jamie was no different than any other college kid. He loved a good time with his friends, and he had so much to look forward to in the future,” said Katrina Chapman, Jamie’s mom. “Jamie’s decision to drive drunk has affected our entire family’s life, even eight years later. I hope young adults will see Jamie’s story and make the right decision to find a sober ride.”
The Chapman family is sharing their story through TxDOT’s “Plan While You Can” campaign, which aims to save lives and decrease alcohol-related crashes. As many college students enjoy Spring Break in the coming weeks, the campaign focuses on younger drivers who may engage in activities involving alcohol.
During last year’s Spring Break* in Texas, there were 417 crashes involving young drivers who were driving under the influence of alcohol. Those crashes killed 26 people and seriously injured another 52.
“Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly choice that can ruin the future of a young driver and all those involved in a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “This Spring Break, be responsible and plan ahead for a sober ride.”
The “Plan While You Can” campaign will tour the state featuring the “Plan to Win” virtual reality game. The game poses questions related to drinking and driving, and illustrates the consequences of getting behind the wheel through an immersive experience.
Driving under the influence of alcohol not only risks death or serious injuries, but it can also be costly. Drivers can face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their driver’s license. Instead of getting behind the wheel, here are some alternative options:
- Designate a sober driver.
- Contact a cab or ride-share service.
- Use mass transit.
- Spend the night.
“Plan While You Can” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit and never driving after drinking or using other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.