'One decision can wreak havoc': AAA issues drunk driving warning ahead of Super Bowl weekend

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The year 2020 proved to be a deadly one on the roads across Texas with 958 fatalities involving DUI, a 5% increase from 2019.

AAA Texas, along with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the Texas Department of Public Safety, are reminding all drivers not to drink and drive, especially over Super Bowl weekend.

"A parent should never have to bury their child," said Eric Stephens, father of Jade Stephens, who was killed by a drunk driver when she was just 9 years old.

The accident happened in 2014 in north Harris County. Jade and her family were leaving her birthday party, three days before she would've turned 10 years old, when Salvador Delao ran a stop sign and hit the family's car. Jade was killed in the crash and Delao was convicted of drunk driving. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2015.

"One decision can cause havoc in somebody else's lifetime," Eric said.

Drivers should start planning out the details of their Super Bowl Sunday, according to AAA Texas, especially if they plan on drinking alcohol.

"Make sure that your party goers, your guests, have a plan. That's making sure that they have a designated driver, or that you, as the host, have a rideshare app or a cab company phone number on hand," said Joshua Zuber, AAA Texas spokesperson.

Another popular option is offering non-alcoholic beverages at your gathering -- a growing trend for those choosing a sober lifestyle.

"They're intended to be mixed in with a cocktail so you can get that flavor that you love without the negative effects of alcohol," said Helenita Frounfelkner of Sipple, a non-alcoholic bottle shop located near Rice Village.

With a large variety of options, mixing up a "mocktail" is becoming more convenient and delicious thanks to shops like Sipple that curate a wide variety of drinks for customers.

Skipping out on alcohol if you're driving is the best way to ensure your safety on the road, as well as the safety of others.

"Everybody loves the Super Bowl," Stephens said. "It's a good time, football and festivities and drinking, but just do everything responsibly."

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