POSTED: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 6:20pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 1:44pm
MCALLEN, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The holiday season is here, which means plenty of festivities celebrating with friends and family--but drinking and driving will get you more than just a spot on the naughty list.
While people across the Valley gather to celebrate the holidays, four law agencies are teaming up to make a regional impact against drunk driving.
McAllen, Edinburg, and Pharr police as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety are working together for the first time to enforce laws against driving under the influence.
"Just in Hidalgo County alone, just DPS alone, we're arresting over a thousand people just for drinking and driving," said DPS spokesperson Sgt. Johnny Hernandez. "And that's just DPS, can you imagine all the rest of the departments when we put all those numbers together how many drunk drivers are out there? I mean that's something we wanna reduce and we're gonna do that this holiday period."
Drivers aren't the only ones who need to be responsible--officers stress that sober people need to pay attention to their friends and help in preventing them from getting behind the wheel if they've been drinking.
"That's something that they need to also realize hey you know what, I'm not gonna let my friend drive drunk and kill somebody or seriously injure somebody," Sgt. Hernandez explained.
Not only will law enforcement agencies hold a zero tolerance policy for drunk driving, there's a hefty penalty for anyone driving under the influence with a minor in their vehicle.
"If you're stopped and you have your child under the age of 15, you will receive a fine of up to $10,000, two years in state jail, and you will lose your driver's license for 180 days," said Sgt. Maria Hernandez, State Trooper.
Anyone who is caught driving drunk with a minor will also have to pay $2,000 for three consecutive years as a surcharge fee from the state just to maintain their driver's license.