Trauma surgeons: Don't drink and drive

University Hospital Trauma Department wants to change statistics

SAN ANTONIO – It's a first place recognition Texans are not proud of: the Lone Star State leads the nation in drunken driving deaths, with more than 90 fatalities in 2013, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. 

That's why University Hospital in San Antonio is taking a stand against drunken driving, starting on hospital grounds.

The general public may not have to witness the results of drunken driving every day, but members of the University Hospital Trauma Department do.

"Every day in the emergency room we get a trauma victim from a car crash and sometimes it's a family (with) small children and they were hit by a drunken driver, and the drunken driver is also in the emergency room and we're taking care of them. That's a memory you're going to have forever," said University Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Lillian Liao.

She wants fewer people to have that memory, so she's helping her hospital take part in a national program called "Tie One On."

Red ribbons were passed to every hospital staff member that came into the parking garage Thursday morning in hopes that they'd put them on their cars and help spread the message as health professionals about how dangerous drunk driving is.

The number of car crashes across the nation spikes in the time between Thanksgiving and the new year, and that's in large part due to drunken driving, TxDOT officials say.

So this season, Liao is making a simple request: don't add to the statistic.

"Have fun over the holidays and be safe at the same time," she said.

Liao says that spreading the word or even just bringing up conversations about the consequences of drunken driving can save lives this year.

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