HOUSTON (CBS Houston) The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has a plain yet poignant message for those contemplating mixing holiday festivities with alcohol and getting behind the wheel: There is a zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

In their latest efforts to eradicate drunk driving, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputies joined forces with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Division and arrested 21 drunken drivers during the Christmas holiday weekend. Six of the individuals arrested were third-time offenders, according to officials with the HCSO.

The HCSO also worked with the Texas Department of Public Safety, zeroing in on drunk drivers and concentrating in areas of Harris County that are known high-risk areas for alcohol-related accidents.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia stated that drunken driving will not be tolerated on Harris County roads, regardless of the time of day, year or reason given from a motorist. He stated that individuals found to be operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence of any chemical will be placed under arrest and hauled to jail without hesitation.

He warns Harris County residents of the dangers that come with drunken driving and encourages individuals contemplating driving while intoxicated to think about the risks they place on not only their lives but the lives of others.

In terms of the HCSO netting the arrests of drunken drivers, he says that there are individuals who probably make it a common practice to get behind the wheel of a car and drive it while drunk: “These were probably not the only time these individuals drove while drunk,” said Sheriff Adrian Garcia. “These are just the only times they got caught.”

Officials with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office want residents focused, alert and coherent while driving during the holiday weekend and remind residents that their presence will be known and felt as many celebrate the coming of the new year: “HCSO Traffic Enforcement and Patrol deputies will be on high alert during the New Year’s Eve weekend as well. While much of the public will be out celebrating, HCSO deputies will be working to put behind bars those who decide to break the law, hoping to end Harris County’s deplorable status as first in the nation for DWI-involved fatalities,” stated the HCSO.

Sheriff Garcia said that there are safe and sober ways residents can celebrate the holiday season and he wants residents to not only explore those ways but place them into practice:“We want the residents of Harris County to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the company of family and friends, but not if that means behaving in a way that will bring harm to themselves, their loved ones or innocent strangers on the roadways,” said Sheriff Garcia.

According to statistics from the HCSO, “…during the 2011 holiday season (November 21 through December 31), the HCSO alone reported 12 drunken driving deaths, and made 258 arrests.”

Click here to view pictures of those repeat offenders who were arrested as part of the HCSO’s latest initiative to eradicate drunken driving.

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