December 18, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Many people in Dallas like to unwind during their time off by having a few social drinks with friends or colleagues. At the same time, the majority of Texas drivers know that driving while intoxicated
can lead to heavy penalties, and they act accordingly.
Even with the stiff punishment that drivers arrested for DUI in Texas can face, though, accidents that involve intoxicated drivers are still occurring at a high rate, leading to calls for legal reform. It is important for drivers in Texas to understand the consequences of DUI as well as the changes that could lie ahead.
DUI accident rates are high
Texas has one of the highest populations of any state, so it might be expected that more drunk driving accidents -- and more motor vehicle accidents in general -- would occur there than in other states. Statistics reported by the Century Council indicate that this is the case:
- In 2010, alcohol-related crashes caused 10,228 fatalities nationwide.
- These fatalities represented 31 percent of total motor vehicle accident fatalities that year.
- In 2011, in Texas alone, 1,213 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers.
- Those deaths constituted 40.2 percent of the state's traffic fatalities that year.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving points out that it is problematic that drunk driving fatalities constitute an above average proportion of accident fatalities in Texas. In fact, the rate in Texas is almost a third higher than the national average. Critics believe that changes in law or policy may be necessary to deal with this issue.
MADD calls for reform
Earlier this year, MADD Texas lobbied for stronger legislation against drunk driving, according to a press release posted on the organization's website. MADD called for two key changes: sobriety checkpoints and mandatory ignition interlock
devices for repeat offenders. Ignition interlock devices reduce drunk driving among repeat offenders by two-thirds, while checkpoint arrests could prevent an estimated 262 deaths yearly, according to studies cited by MADD.
Between these suggested revisions and the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation that every state lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit, changes may be in store for Texas drivers. It is important for drivers to understand these possibilities as well as the current DWI laws.
DWI punishments are steep
Although MADD contends that there is room for improvement in Texas DWI policy, any Texas driver who has faced DWI charges knows that the penalties are not trivial. Fines and license suspension are guaranteed, while jail time, probation and installation of an interlock device are all possible. Punishments can be especially harsh for aggravated DWI and third-time or felony DWI.
The changes proposed by MADD could save lives, but they would also have a serious effect on Texas drivers. Mandatory ignition interlock devices could spare DWI offenders from the harsh consequences of repeat offenses, while sobriety checkpoints could lead to more arrests for first-time offenders.
In the meantime, the current law promises significant sanctions, so drivers in Texas should exercise their best judgment and work to avoid situations where they are driving while intoxicated to any degree. Anyone who is arrested and facing DWI charges should not delay contacting an experienced lawyer for advice and assistance.
Visit us at dallas-dwiattorney.com/