Image From ..dallasnews.com
Going to the stadium and watching your favorite football team on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon can drive one to drink too much. And in Texas, especially, that's a big problem.

Alcohol-related traffic crashes in Texas were alarmingly high last football season. More than 1,600 total crashes occurred when a Texas college or professional football team was playing. DUI-alcohol traffic fatalities increased 27 percent — from 45 deaths in 2011 to 57 deaths in 2012 — on game days when a Texas college or professional team was playing.

Whether your team wins or loses, is the alcohol consumption so many think is necessary, really worth risking your life? Answer that question when you're sober. Tx DOT is trying to convince fans that they can enjoy the game and stay sober too.

Let me be the first to say that if anyone has a reason to drink, this New York Giants fan does. They started the season 0-6 and the next Super Bowl is being played on their field at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014. Big Blue is 2-6 right now which means they have to win the next 4 just to attain mediocrity. It's not the season we hoped for... Nonetheless, sobriety is a better choice for too many reasons.

In Texas, it looks like they've got money to spend and the TxDOT is spending it. They've chosen to coddle football fans like children in kindergarten. They're promoting sobriety with a "Fan Van."

"We know alcohol is often a part of game-day festivities, so we are urging football fans to make the right call and plan for a sober ride home," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "Whether you're cheering for your favorite team in the bleachers, at a friend's house or as part of a tailgate party, you owe it to yourself, your family and your fellow football fans to play it safe and find a sober ride home."

Besides raising awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, the Fan Van will offer visitors the chance to win a donated Man Cave or one of four, $500 Best Buy gift cards. The Man Cave grand prize consists of a 60-inch, flat-screen TV and home theater system, a massage chair, a basketball hoop and dart board, a putting mat, a folding poker table and a small vending machine-style cooler (all donated for this campaign). To be eligible to win, spectators must take a pledge to not drink and drive this football season. Specific contest details and various ways to enter — including through Twitter, at events or by texting — can be found at TexasGamePlan.com.

Along with on-site anti-DUI promotions, football fans also will see and hear sober driving messages on TV and radio public service announcements; at bars and restaurants; at convenience stores; and on mobile ads.

Fan Van Tour Stops to Promote Sober Driving
•Oct. 26 - SMU vs. Temple (Dallas)
•Nov. 2 - Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State (Lubbock)
•Nov. 7 - Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Waco)
•Nov. 9 - Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State (College Station)
•Nov. 16 - Texas A&M-Kingsville vs. Valdosta State (Kingsville)
•Nov. 23 - Lamar University vs. McNeese State (Beaumont)
•Nov. 24 - Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Houston)
•Dec. 30 - Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio)
•Jan - Feb - Additional stops to be determined

TxDOT urges people who have been drinking to take a taxi, use public transit or designate a sober driver — someone who has not been drinking. TxDOT's www.SoberRides.org provides several options for getting home safely by entering a current location and an end destination. It also is mobile-friendly.

TxDOT is pursuing a noble purpose -- to save lives. But when can we expect people to behave like responsible grownups without having to reward them with prizes for it?