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How Does Texas Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?

Posted On November 28, 2016 In Local Car Accidents

Can Texas put a stop to drunk drivers?Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claims our state leads the nation in drunk driving accidents. According to MADD, 1,337 people in our state lost their lives to drunk driving in 2013. Another 15,687 suffered injuries. Our state also has a high rate of drunk driving arrests. Texas had 64,971 DWI arrests in 2013. That is almost twice the number of people who live in Lufkin.

While Texas does have a high number of drunk driving accidents and DWI offenders, our state does have solutions in place to protect the public. Our state has ignition interlock requirements for first-time offenders, educational programs for college and high school students, and other regulations that can prevent drunk driving accidents.

Do Ignition Interlock Devices Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?

Texas changed its ignition interlock laws in 2015. As of last year, the court may require first-time DWI offenders age 21 and older with a BAC of .08 or greater to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

Ignition interlock devices require DWI offenders to blow into a device to start their vehicles. The device measures their blood alcohol content level. If it detected a measurable trace of alcohol, their vehicles would not start. MADD statistics claim states who require mandatory ignition interlock devices for offenders see a 43 percent reduction in fatal drunk driving accidents.

Texas only recently required first-time offenders to install these devices, so it may be several years before our state has statistics showing if they are effective.

What Else Does Texas Do to Prevent Drunk Driving?

  • Public safety campaigns: Schools, organizations and government agencies all participate in drunk driving awareness programs. For example, the Texas Department of Transportation has its #EndTheStreakTexas campaign. TxDOT’s campaign focuses on preventing drunk driving and other causes of car accidents. During this campaign, TxDOT has invited people who have lost loved ones to share their stories on its social media pages. It has also utilized infographics and other social media materials to reach a wider audience.
  • Enforcement periods: Sobriety checkpoints are illegal in Texas, but law enforcement still has effective methods for catching drunk drivers. Enforcement periods, which often occur during holidays with lots of drinking, are where police and the Texas DPS officers increase patrols. During these enforcement periods, law enforcement will saturate the roads with officers to pull over and arrest drunk drivers. Law enforcement may also use ‘no refusal’ weekends, where police officers may obtain warrants to blood test drivers who might be intoxicated.

How Would You Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?

There are other possible solutions for preventing drunk driving accidents. For example, some people argue ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft prevent people from drinking and driving. Another possible solution is to increase the penalties for first-time offenders.

If you were in charge, how would you prevent drunk driving in our state? Let us know by connecting with the Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC on Facebook and Twitter.

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