COLLEGE STATION, Texas — St. Patrick's day brings bar-goers and early drinkers out starting early in the day, but with the increase in foot traffic owners are encouraging ride-sharing apps to decrease drunk driving.
Pam Todaro knows firsthand the consequences of drunk driving. Through the Brazos Valley injury prevention coalition and Reality Education Driver (RED) program her goal is to prevent one less lost life.
”It’s kind of come full circle for me," said Pam Todaro, program coordinator with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and injury prevention coalition. "I didn’t realize it at the time the connection it was going to bring back to me having lost my child and also promoting awareness for people to make better choices when they get behind the wheel."
Using her family's tragedy to educate other young drivers. Especially on a day like today where bars expect a full return of their customers.
”We really haven't had a full St. Patrick's day since 2019," said Barry Ivins, owner of Carney's Pub and Grill. "That’s kind of where we went back and looked at those 2019 numbers and kind of planned around those numbers."
As bar owners expect big crowds to return, they’re encouraging their customers to use ride-sharing apps.
”This town is super good about utilizing that," said Justin Roueche, general manager of Mo's Irish Pub. "DWI’s in this town is a huge focus for the police department I know we have an off-duty police officer coming in at 7 o’clock tonight just for a presence so everyone feels safe."
According to CSPD, the number of DWI arrests does reflect the focus on ensuring safety in the community.
”Our numbers for all of 2021 is that we had about 326 DWI arrests which average to about 6 or 7 DWI arrests per week," said Tristen Lopez, College Station PIO. "This year we’re currently at 57 DWI arrests which fortunately is trending about one less arrest per week."
Todaro encourages young drivers to make good choices before getting behind the wheel.
”It’s so preventable," added Todaro. "My son did not have to die in the manner that he did. It’s 100 percent preventable and like I said if I know that if Dillon would have known that’s how the night would have ended up, he would have made a different choice."
Some bar owners will also have officers patrolling the area ensuring people are celebrating safely.