Police, TXDOT encouraging safe driving on St. Patrick’s Day

Police, TXDOT encouraging safe driving on St. Patrick’s Day

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Just when you thought the parties in downtown Austin were winding down from SXSW, now it's St. Patrick's Day, so there are even more.

And since St. Patrick's Day is often a day of drinking, authorities are making sure the roads are safe.

Thanks to a Federal grant, the Austin Police Department is cracking down on aggressive driving on I-35.  They'll be watching for speeding, tailgating, passing emergency vehicles, no-seat belts, etc.  So it's best to be responsible.

At 4th street and Lavaca where Fado Irish Pub is, that's where people seem to be gathering for festivities.  Several live bands are playing in some of the nearby pubs – they've even blocked off the street and put a big party tent up.

Surprisingly, a pretty popular attraction is TXDOT's "DWI Not-So-Fun-House."

Contestants shoot hoops and do a driving simulation all while wearing drunk goggles.

"What they've been finding is they're not so accurate when they have those goggles on because if you're drinking alcohol and you get behind the wheel of a car, alcohol will slow your reaction down.  You can't concentrate on the road," said Carol Campa with TXDOT. 

Campa says the main message is for people to have a designated sober driver tonight.

Austin P.D's crack-down is not just tonight.  They're putting 37 more officers on schedule than usual and it will continue throughout the week for spring break and end next Saturday night.

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