AUSTIN, TX -- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has launched a series of mini telenovelas in an effort to extend the message to the Hispanic community about the consequences of drinking and driving. TxDOT is one of the first U.S. state agencies to tackle the dangers of drinking and driving through the telenovela format, which is very popular in the Spanish-speaking community.
The telenovelas aired as thirty second and two minute spots on Univision, Estrella, and Telefutura during the evening news for two weeks in late November. They aired in markets throughout Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso,Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Rio Grande Valley, San Angelo, and San Antonio.
The telenovelas will air again around Easter, July 4, and Dieciseis de Septiembre (September 16). The three, two-minute episodes will also be available online at http://www.youtube.com/txdotpio and will be used as teaching tools by civic and social service organizations throughout the state.
Drinking and driving poses a great danger for Hispanics in Texas, where they make up over one third of the population. Key statistics:
However, according to a 2008 survey in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, over 96 percent of Hispanics believe that "driving under the influence is a threat to my personal safety and that of my family."
"We created telenovelas to reach women and men in the Hispanic community," said Carol T. Rawson P.E., TxDOT Traffic Operations Director. "We want to encourage people to take the initiative and not let the people they care about get behind the wheel after they've been drinking."
The agency has created three short telenovelas that follow the members of a Hispanic family as they experience drinking and driving situations. The goal is to relay information on how to proactively prevent drinking and driving, how to explain the consequences of drinking and driving to those unfamiliar with the laws, and how drinking and driving can affect the lives of young adults.
The Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining nearly 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its approximately 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and preserving the value of the state's transportation assets.