Texas officials plan No Refusal initiative against drunk driving

In terms of energy and patriotic expression, Texas Fourth of July celebrations may make local residents proud. However, they might also be some of the year’s most dangerous, at least in terms of drunk driving accidents. Last year, intoxicated drivers contributed to 133 motor vehicle accidents throughout the state — on Independence Day alone.

Officials from the Texas Department of Transportation want to ensure that patriotic celebrations involving alcohol remain safe this year. In an effort to minimize the risk of driving while intoxicated, agency officials have launched a safety campaign, called Faces of Drunk driving. The campaign sponsors events across the state where victims of DWI crashes share their experiences.

In addition to the safety campaign, Texas state troopers will have DWI checkpoints at various locations around the state throughout the holiday weekend. Although Texas is usually an implied consent state — where motorists may decline a breath or blood test at the risk of certain penalties, including license suspension and an adverse evidentiary inference at trial — that option is not available to drivers stopped as part of the upcoming “No Refusal” initiative. At such locations, drivers suspected of DWI can be pulled over and required to submit to a breath or blood test.

Officials hope the combination of safety awareness and enforcement initiatives may help Texas residents plan accordingly for their holiday celebrations. Appointing a designated driver in advance is perhaps the safest strategy. Consuming no more than 1 drink per social gathering is another strategy for keeping blood alcohol limits below the legal limit.

Source: yourhoustonnews.com, “DWI crash victims lend their ‘faces’ to anti-drunk driving campaign,” June 26, 2013

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