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      TxDOT Rolls out PASS App to Curb Drinking and Driving

      Drinking and driving is a huge problem that can change lives and claim them. And it's no secret, that part of the college experience includes socializing and at times, drinking alcohol with friends.

      "The perception is college is to party and have fun and to drink," says Jessica Vallejo, a Resident Advisor at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

      Greek Council President Eva Robles adds, People here range from 18 years and older|and you see drinking everywhere you go out. Vallejo and Robles attend UTB, one of just a few tapped to test a new program from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Spokesperson Ruby Benavides say their hope is to curb drinking and driving.

      "Our crash data shows the age group of 18-24 is more at risk. Last year we saw 7,096 crashes|we see the 18-24 group more involved in alcohol related incidents, said Benavides.

      PASS, or Person Appointed to Stay Sober, integrates mobile devices and social media.

      Benavides says, Students will be able to plan ahead and coordinate with their designated driver.

      "You would sign in through your Facebook; from there, it connects to all your events, adds Robles.

      "From there a person can say I'll be the PASS driver or I'll be the person who needs a PASS and it will benefit both," asserts Vallejo. PASS drivers will be monetarily compensated by the students needing assistance through a mutual agreement. Administrators and students see it as a good thing.

      "This is a great app for them to protect themselves and protect their friends as well," says Robles.

      Vallejo adds, "Something like pass can save a life, it saves all your hard work|so it doesn't get ruined by a night of fun." Meanwhile, TxDOT is hoping the results are equally as positive.

      We TMre hoping that it is successful because if it is we'll be doing it at universities across the state," said Benavides.