Texas Colleges Test P.A.S.S. Facebook App To Connect Students With Sober Drivers, Curb Drunk Driving

By David Cohen 

With colleges throughout the U.S. kicking off their fall semesters, the Texas Department of Transportation launched a pilot Facebook application at three universities in the state — University of North Texas, Midwestern State University, and University of Texas at Brownsville — designed to help students hook up with sober drivers and avoid drunk driving.

Person Appointed to Stay Sober, or P.A.S.S., integrates with events on Facebook and allows students attending those events to either search for sober drivers, pledging payment such as gas money if they choose to do so, or to volunteer as sober drivers.

The Texas DOT said it uses the term “sober driver” because “’designated driver’ has come to mean the person who is the least drunk.” Spokeswoman Becky Ozuna added:

Drinking and driving continues to be a serious problem here in Texas. We just continue to see injuries, fatalities, and jail time. And the reality is that these are all entirely preventable.

Social media is a huge part of how college students communicate with each other, so the thinking was, “Let’s go to where they already are.” They’re already using Facebook to plan parties and events.

And University of North Texas Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen McGuinness added:

This is a great way for us to continue to look at the problem and see how we can possibly make changes if the app isn’t working the way it should. I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction.

Readers: Would you like to see more states and colleges launch the P.A.S.S. Facebook app or similar initiatives?