The Texas Department of Transportation is urging drivers to celebrate the Labor Day weekend responsibly by staying sober when on the road.

During last year’s holiday weekend in Texas, there were 328 crashes involving drivers who were under the influence of the alcohol. Those crashes resulted in eight deaths and seriously injured 25 people.

“The long weekend should be an opportunity to enjoy extra time with family and friends, rather than experience a senseless and preventable tragedy that ruins the lives of everyone involved because of drinking and driving,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in an emailed statement Thursday. “If you plan to drink alcohol this weekend, please plan ahead for a sober ride. It can save lives.”

While drivers under the influence of alcohol risk killing or seriously injuring themselves and others, they can also face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their driver’s license. In addition to the penalties for drunk driving, House Bill 2502, which takes effect on Sept. 1, requires a judge to order a minimum of 120 days of confinement when granting community supervision for the offense of leaving the scene of a crash that results in the death of a person.

TxDOT encourages anyone with plans to drink over the long weekend to designate a sober driver ahead of time, hail a cab or ride-sharing service, use public transportation, or to stay the night at a safe location.

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