By Jessica Ortiz
Fiesta, such a wonderful time of the year for all San Antonio, classes get cancelled and best of all, mostly everyone gets a free holiday. It is a time of celebration for everyone, a time to spend with friends and family, and a time to enjoy a few cold drinks. But let’s not forget all those individuals who get behind a wheel while intoxicated during this time of celebration. The Bexar County District Attorney’s office reported more than 36 DWI’s during the ten day celebration in the year of 2015. A total of 84 individuals were arrested in the month of April for 2015.
However, San Antonio reinforces two campaigns that protect individuals from drinking and driving. The Fiesta PASS campaign which stands for Person Appointed to Stay Sober is a prevention campaign run through the Texas Department of Transportation that is dedicated to reduce DWI’s during Fiesta season. The PASS campaign advises individuals to plan ahead and assign someone to be the designated driver, or to assign a Lyft, Uber or taxi. But that’s not the only campaign out there to protect our residents. The Texas Department of transportation has enforced another campaign dedicated to create awareness. The “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail. De Veras.” is a bilingual campaign that runs from Easter celebration until Cinco de Mayo. Since 38 percent of all Texas population is Hispanic, the common expression “ De Veras” is used as a response of misbelief. The campaign was inspired by the famous game known as Loteria.
Like every year, the San Antonio Police department assigns extra patrols to track down the drunk drivers during Fiesta. If an individual is caught drinking and driving he or she will only have two options, taking a breathalyzer test or a blood test, this is policy that was enforced since October of 2011.
“No one is saying don’t enjoy Fiesta … just be smart about it,” said District Attorney Nico LaHood during a conference held at Market Square in 2015.
“We want a safe community, this is a family event and I don’t tolerate the bullying, fighting, intoxication. It is not an excuse for me.” Said LaHood.
Taxis also have a reduced rate cost during this time, and the San Antonio Commission along with Yellow Cab of San Antonio distributes $20 cab vouchers at the Fiesta store located on Broadway. Not to forget the rides available with Lyft or Uber which has become the most easiest to handle due to the App located on any smartphone. Also, new lyft users were given the free code FIESTAWEEK for a $5 discount for the first five rides during Fiesta week.
There is no excuse to enjoy a fun and safe Fiesta season. Just remember to prepare ahead of time, and if for some reason that can’t be done, there are many options to take instead of getting behind the wheel. Don’t ruin this celebration with a DWI, and most important, don’t risk your life and the lives of others. Think ahead and take precaution, but also enjoy this wonderful time safely.