State steps up DUI enforcement during holidays

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The Texas Department of Transportation has kicked off its statewide “Drive Sober. No Regrets” drunk driving prevention program for the holidays. Throughout the month, TxDOT has released videos of people who deal with the daily consequences of driving while impaired, either as an offender or survivor.

The stories and facts about drunk driving can be found at SoberRides.org.

“It is our hope that these moving, first-hand accounts will encourage all of us to make the right choice and not ever drive after drinking or doing anything that can alter our judgment,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “We don’t want to turn a happy time of year into one that could be marked by tragic loss caused by someone’s poor decision to drink and drive.”

During the December holiday season last year, there were 2,462 DUIalcohol related traffic accidents, killing 93 people and seriously injuring 215.

Texas to distribute additional $123.3 million in ed funding

The state will invest an additional $123.3 million in federal funds provided through pandemic relief legislation.

“The state of Texas remains committed to students and their success in our education systems — that includes ensuring parents have an option to send their kids to a highquality charter school and providing direct support to families with children who have special needs,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.

This final round of funding includes money for students with severe cognitive disabilities; charter school grants; financial aid for nursing students; short-term credential training for front-line health care workers; initiatives to improve student enrollment and retention; financial aid programs for higher education; cybersecurity enhancement; and aid for those seeking commercial driver license training.

“For some of our most at-risk students, this significant new round of funding will prioritize getting families across Texas direct access to special education and other targeted supplemental services to support their children’s varied educational needs,” said Mike Morath, Texas education commissioner.

More funding for Operation Lone Star

The state’s Public Safety Office has awarded an additional $38.4 million in funding to cities and counties along the Texas- Mexico border for law enforcement efforts. That amount doubles the funding provided for those counties since last March.

The funding is for specialized law enforcement equipment, labor costs including overtime, construction of additional communication towers and increased jail capacity and travel costs for law enforcement personnel from non-border counties that provide assistance.

“This additional funding will strengthen our response to the border crisis and ensure our law enforcement and local partners have the resources they need to keep our communities safe in the federal government’s absence,” Abbott said.

GARY BORDERS is an veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. You may reach him at gborders@texaspress.com.

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