Mother Speaks Out to Save Lives After Losing College-Age Daughter to Drunk Driver

During Spring Break, ‘Plan While You Can’ campaign aims to reduce
crashes, save lives

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Janakae Sargent was a good friend. So much so, that as a 20-year-old
student at Texas Tech, she often spent Saturday nights as a designated
driver, ensuring her friends got home safely. In November 2006, while in
between trips as a designated driver, Janakae was hit by a drunk driver
who ran a red light. She hung on to life for four days, but ultimately
died from her injuries.

“Janakae was authentic,” said her mother, Kandi Wiley. “Her heart was
devoted to family and friends. Her smile was contagious, and she had big
ideas for her future. We will never know the big impact she could have
had. Her family and friends experienced a great loss, but it’s not just
our loss, it’s our community’s loss.”

Janakae’s mother is sharing her story through the Texas Department of
Transportation’s “Plan While You Can” campaign, which aims to save lives
and decrease alcohol-related crashes. As many Texas college students
enjoy Spring Break in the coming weeks, the campaign focuses on younger
drivers who may engage in celebrations involving alcohol.

“Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly choice that can
ruin the future of a young driver and all those impacted by a crash,”
said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Underage drinking also is
illegal and can quickly turn a celebration into a tragedy. This Spring
Break, enjoy your time off, but be responsible and plan ahead for a
sober ride. Don’t make a bad decision that could negatively impact your
future and cause heartache for your family and others.”

The “Plan While You Can” campaign includes a statewide tour featuring an interactive
dodgeball
game where participants dodge “beach balls” as virtual
drinks are added to the screen. As more drinks are added, participants
experience how drinking can slow their reaction times as on-screen
avatars begin responding more slowly to their players’ movements.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol can face up to $17,000 in fines,
legal fees, impoundment and other costs. As always, TxDOT strongly
encourages everyone to plan for a sober ride before going out. Visit
SoberRides.org to find alternatives to drinking and driving, such as:

  • Calling a taxi or using a transportation app on your smartphone.
  • Using mass transit.
  • Asking a sober friend or family member for a ride home.
  • Spending the night.

For more information, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov
or (512) 463-8700.

The information contained in this report represents reportable data
collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). This
information was received and processed by the department as of Jan. 18,
2017.

The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining
80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public
transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 12,000 employees are
committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable
transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system,
addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a
Best-in-Class state agency. Find out more at txdot.gov.
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Contacts

TxDOT
David Glessner, 512-463-8700
MediaRelations@txdot.gov

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