According to a Texas Department of Transportation report, Amanda Eldridge with Mothers Against Drunk Driving tells KLBK and that alcohol-related car crashes have increased over the past year.

“Last year we lost someone every 53 minutes to a drunk driving crash and now it’s 51 minutes,” Eldridge said referencing the Lubbock area. “And so we had about 1,000 increase from last year.”

Lubbock DPS officials also said they’ve noticed more crashes and fatalities from crashes recently in the overall county.

“In Lubbock County, we had 15 fatalities and then we had 283 injuries and there was a total of 349 crashes just in Lubbock county alone and so it’s definitely concerning, especially when drunk driving is one hundred percent preventable,” Eldridge said.

Local Defense Attorney Frank Sellers said college students returning to Lubbock could explain the rise in alcohol-related crashes.

“With all of the college students and being in Lubbock I think that there’s a trend here toward people drinking more than other places,” Sellers said. “Some of them six hours away from home for the first time and  They don’t know any better even if they should.”

Sellers said Texas laws allow driving after drinking, but only if it stays under the legal limit.

“Responsible drinking is legal but to get to the point where you’re over the limit or at the limit is where people start running in to problems,” Sellers said.