Most people in Texas know you are not supposed to drive while drunk. The subtleties of drinking and driving, however, are a little less clear. This is especially true among certain populations. To better educate the state's Hispanic population about the consequences of driving while intoxicated, the Texas Department of Transportation has created an educational campaign which will air in the format of a telenovela.

Telenovelas are over-the-top soap operas that are very popular among Hispanic communities. The Traffic Operations Director for the Department of Transportation said his agency chose the telenovela format because viewers often develop emotional connections to the characters, making it an effective way to show people what can happen after a DUI conviction.

The Hispanic community accounts for one-third of Texas' population, so it is vital its members fully understand the state's drunk-driving laws. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanic Texas residents under 44 and 15 percent of U.S.-born Mexican-Americans had a DUI within the past 12 months, according to a study published in 2008 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Obviously, it is hoped that this public awareness campaign will do the trick. But it is equally obvious that it simply cannot reach everyone. If you find yourself in trouble following a drunk-driving arrest and are not sure what is going to happen next, it would probably be worth your while to speak to an attorney who often deals with this type of charge. He or she can explain the accusations against you, outline what they may mean for your future and can discuss possible defense options with you.

Source: The Texas Department of Transportation, "TxDOT Creates Original 'Mini' Telenovelas Series to Reach Hispanic Families," 17 June 2011.